Strong Growth for 5G Mobile Devices

Article By : John Walko

There are over 400 commercially available 5G devices, with a couple hundred more announced and presumably on their way to the market.

The number of 5G-capable mobile devices announced and commercially available has passed the 600 mark this month, the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) said in its latest survey, published this week.

The organization puts the number that have been announced at 628, an increase of 21% over the last three months. The number that are believed to be commercially available now stands at 404, an increase of 33% over the same period, and now represents two-thirds of all announced devices.

Mobile phones are clearly the most common 5G form factor coming on the scene, but are by no means the only growth area, note the GSA researchers. Indeed the technology has identified 21 available form factors.

Of course it must be noted that not all the devices are immediately available, and for some announced devices, the exact specifications are not yet available.

The full report suggests there are now 306 mobile phones announced, up 12 from December, of which 274 are available (up 23 from last month).

There has also been a considerable ramping up of devices for fixed wireless access customer premise equipment (FWA CPE — indoor and outdoor), and 47 of the 122 identified are commercially available. The list is made up of eighty modules, 34 industrial or enterprise routers/ gateways or modems; 29 hotspots; 15 laptops/notebooks; eight tablets and 34 other devices such as drones, head-mounted displays (including in-vehicle routers/modems/hotspots), robots, snap-on dongles/adapters, TVs, USB terminals/dongles/modems, cameras, femto-cells or small cells, vehicle on board units (OBU), and a single switch, vending machine, and encoder.

In an optimistic forecast, the GSA says it expects the device ecosystem to continue to grow quickly.

“Based on vendors’ previous statements and recent rates of device release, we might expect to see the number of commercial devices surpassing the 440 mark by the end of Q1 2021.”

Separately, a recent note from market research group Moor Insights suggests that a huge majority of smartphone vendors believe 5G devices are driving much of their growth and profitability, and also notes that the prices of most devices are coming down from last year.

The Moor study indicates that, with component suppliers such  as Qualcomm and Mediatek beginning to supply SoCs and modems for the mainstream and even entry level; devices are beginning to be available for as low as $199 (the LG K92 5G). Phones from Motorola and OnePlus are coming to the market for just $299.

Meanwhile, even smartphones offering mm Wave capabilities are becoming available for $399, for instance the TCL’s  10  5G UW for operation on Verizon’s network.

With more chip vendors entering the market with good-specification SoCs for low-cost 5G devices, the study suggests average selling prices should continue this downward trend.

This article was originally published on EE Times.

John Walko is a technology writer and editor who has been covering the electronics industry since the early 1980s. He started tracking the sector while working on one of the UK’s oldest weekly technology titles, The Engineer, then moved to CMP’s flagship UK weekly, Electronics Times, in a variety of roles including news deputy and finally editor in chief. He then joined the online world when CMP started the EDTN Network, where he edited the daily electronics feed and was founding editor of commsdesign.com (which, over the years, has become the Wireless and Networking Designline). He was editor of EE Times Europe at its launch and subsequently held various positions on EE Times, in the latter years, covering the growing wireless and mobile sectors.

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