From “Huawei, Ericsson or Nokia? Apple or Samsung? U.S. or China? Who’s Winning the 5G Races” posted Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal:
When Apple introduced its first 5G-capable smartphones to great fanfare a year ago, it was months behind rivals like Samsung Electronics. But by the time of this year’s iPhone 13 launch last month, Apple had taken the lead. It held 28.3% of the 5G phone market, as measured by shipments, in the first half of this year, according to IDC. Chinese company Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp. was second with a 14.4% share, just ahead of Samsung at 13.9% and another Chinese company, Vivo Mobile Communication Co., at 13.5%. China’s Xiaomi 1810 -2.54% was next at 11.2%.
Apple has “completely taken the 5G world by storm,” says Runar Bjørhovde, a research analyst at research firm Canalys. Apple’s success in the 5G market, he says, has been driven partly by its introduction of several different models, and by the fact that all iPhones 12th generation and beyond are made with 5G technology, meaning consumers looking to buy the latest iPhone have no choice but to buy a 5G model.
The arrival of 5G-capable iPhones also has fueled a boom in the broader market for 5G phones. About 18% of all smartphones being shipped were 5G-capable when the iPhone 12 made its debut. Within three months, 5G devices represented 32% of total handset shipments. The market for 5G smartphones is expected to grow from $161.4 billion last year to $361.8 billion this year, IDC estimates, and reach $454.7 billion by 2025.
Apple faces an uphill battle to hold on to its early success in the 5G segment, IDC research director Nabila Popal says. Nearly 70% of Apple’s entire phone shipments already are of 5G devices, whereas only 26% of all Samsung shipments and 30% of all Xiaomi shipments are 5G, giving the Asian rivals more room to grow. Mr. Bjørhovde says that as more lower-cost 5G handsets come to market they are likely to undercut Apple’s position…
My take: Killer app? Apple’s 5G phones didn’t need no killer app.