By Kelly Hill
5G devices have hit a milestone: There are now more than 100 of them commercially available, with a “rapid rise” in the past month, according to a new report from the Global mobile Suppliers Association. Between the end of April and the end of May, the number of commercially available 5G devices jumped from 95 to at least 112, the GSA said.
Even more 5G devices are on the way, across a broad vendor ecosystem, with 84 vendors having announced a total of 296 devices that are either available or upcoming (this includes regional variants). The GSA has flagged 16 5G device form factors, which includes:
-119 phones that are available and/or announced, up 11 from the previous month. The number of commercially available 5G-capable phones grew by 13 in the past month, to at least 77.
-The second-largest category of available/announced devices are 5G CPE, with 84 ranging from indoor or outdoor and two Verizon-specific devices that don’t meet 3GPP 5G standards. Sixteen CPE devices are believed to be commercially available now, the GSA noted.
-47 5G modules.
-20 5G hot spots, of which 10 are commercially available.
-Other devices, of which the GSA says there are 21 ranging from drones, robots, adapters, head-mounted displays, tablets, televisions, USB dongles/modems/terminals and a vending machine.
While the number of available devices continues to rise, there are questions as to whether the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout will drive faster or slower 5G deployment and/or adoption.
NPD Group’s Mobile Phone Tracking service recently reported that while 5G smartphone sales accounted for less than 1 per cent of devices in 2019, there was “strong growth” between the first and second halves of last year that was driven by the introduction of new 5G devices and more coverage.
“Smartphone pricing and lack of clear use case for 5G were the main obstacles to purchase in 2019, but we expect this to change in 2020,” said executive director, industry analyst, NPD Connected Intelligence, Brad Akyuz in a statement. “As 5G becomes a standard feature in flagship models and more affordable 5G mid-tier device options debut, 5G adoption will grow and potentially begin to drive upgrade cycles.”
NPD also reported that 5G awareness among U.S. consumers rose from 73 per cent in the first half of 2019 to 89 per cent in the second half, with 65 per cent of consumers indicating interest in purchasing a 5G smartphone.