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50,000 5G Smartphone Arrivals In The UK During 2019

Although no more than the size of a half-decent attendance at a football match, Deloitte’s prediction of 50,000 5G smartphone users in the UK before the year is out is something of an industry turning point. No longer is 5G an abstract future prospect; it’s pretty much round the corner.

Deloitte thinks the first commercial batch of 5G smartphones will start trickling into the UK in the quarter ended 30 June 2019. More surprisingly perhaps, the consultancy believes there will be as many as some 20 handset vendors at the ready with 5G smartphones this year. There are is no shortage of guesses about which supplier will be first out of the 5G gate. South Korea’s Samsung and LG, however, seem to be among the favorites. Mobile World Congress, in February, looks a likely venue to unveil the first crop of 5G mobile devices.

There are still unknowns. How much are the new smartphones likely to cost, and how good will the battery life be? What is almost certain, is that 5G smartphones will form only a tiny fraction of smartphone shipments in the next few years.

Deloitte calculates that around 1.5 billion smartphones will be sold around the world during 2019 and that 5G handset sales (15–20 million units) during 2020 will represent a meagre 1 percent of all smartphone sales.

In the UK, Deloitte projects 5G smartphone sales to fall between two and three million next year. It’s not until 2025 that Deloitte expects “mass adoption” in developed markets.

Part of the reason for slow 5G phone uptake will be the availability of 5G networks, some of which will come sooner than others and all of which will take quite a while to provide comprehensive coverage. In the table below, you can see the current stance of all four main UK MNOs.―


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