When 5G arrived, it was only available on Android devices. In addition, 5G modems were only available on high-end, and therefore expensive, smartphones.
But today the situation is different. At the end of 2021, Apple launched its second generation of iPhone 5G. And on the Android side, 5G is now available on more affordable smartphones.
Thanks to all this, for the first time, in the month of January, more 5G smartphones were sold than 4G smartphones in the world. This is indicated by a study recently published by the company Counterpoint Research.
According to this, in January, 51% of smartphones sold worldwide were 5G smartphones. And for the first time, this penetration was higher than that of 4G models.
In Europe, China and North America, we are already fully on 5G
Unsurprisingly, the engines of this growth were China, North America, as well as Western Europe. In the Middle Kingdom, the 5G penetration rate on January sales was 84%.
According to Counterpoint, this very high rate is explained by the efforts of Chinese telephone operators, as well as by the offers of manufacturers who have offered 5G models at competitive prices. In North America, this rate was 73% while in Europe, it was 76%.
“Apple dominates North America and Western Europe with a sales share of over 50% and 30% respectively. After Apple transitioned to 5G in October 2020 with the iPhone 12 series, North America and Western Europe saw a natural increase in 5G smartphone sales penetration”also indicates the company.
And on the Android side, 5G growth has been driven by affordable chips with 5G modems offered by Mediatek and Qualcomm. Thanks to these chips, we now have 5G smartphones that cost between $250 and $400. And little by little, 5G is also coming to models priced below $150.
Otherwise, when it comes to truly entry-level smartphones, Counterpoint estimates that 5G will arrive on this type of device when the cost of an entry-level 5G SoC drops below $20.
Note that the study does not mention the iPhone SE 2022, which was launched recently. But this model should also largely contribute to boosting the share of 5G smartphones in the world.
As a reminder, this is an iPhone at 529 euros which a 5G modem, and the same processor as the iPhone 13. According to some estimates, Apple could sell 30 million iPhone SE this year alone.