The smartphone market is changing in further preparation for the ongoing evolution of fifth general network (5G) that is sweeping the telecoms industry across the world.
Although, the deployment of the highest speed internet the world has ever seen is creating an advanced level of digital divide in the market with some early adopters witnessing the power of the technology to deliver up to 20 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) peak data rates and 100+ Megabits-per-second (Mbps) average data rates; while others can only watch and wow.
Above all however, 5G is fast spreading and getting more acceptances even in a country like Nigeria where commercial deployment of the service had met stifling controversy after initial successful trials in 2019 mid-wived by the telecoms regulator.
Already, the Nigerian Communications Commission has released a calendar indicating that the country is set to auction spectrum for 5G before the end of this year.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, the Nigerian government will provide an enabling environment for 5G deployment while Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) will determine their own deployment strategies, subject to alignment with approved policies and other regulatory instruments in force.
With the growing rollout of 5G internet technology, the consumption of the service can only be matched with enough smart devices that are 5G-enabled.
What will happen by 2025
5G compatible smartphones will account for over 50 per cent of smartphone sales revenue by 2025 and you most probably will also be carrying one around, a new report has projected.
The sales projection of 5G devices by 2025 will translate to a circa 212 per cent rise to $337 billion from $108 billion in 2021, said a new study.
According to Juniper Research, smartphone producers must ensure that their hardware maximizes the benefits of future mobile cloud computing solutions. Mobile cloud computing enables service providers to offload resource-intensive jobs to the cloud, freeing up on-device resources for device-critical operations.
The analysis released recently anticipates that successful phone producers would incorporate radios capable of processing enormous bandwidths and ultra-low latency to ensure that handset users can make use of cloud computing services easily and affordably.
According to the survey, expanding the availability of lower-tier 5G smartphones is critical for spreading 5G device usage in emerging regions.
By 2025, it projects, global Android smartphone prices will be 65 per cent lower than those of global iOS smartphones. Additionally, it emphasizes that Android’s lower average cost will result in Android dominating 5G handset markets.
By contrast, the report anticipates that the ongoing popularity of iOS devices in developed economies would result in North America and Europe accounting for 40 per cent of worldwide 5G smartphone revenue by 2025.
The analysis predicts that long-term 5G smartphone shipment revenue will be constrained by impending ‘right-to-repair’ legislation in North America and Europe, as more mobile consumers opt to repair older models rather than upgrade.
According to research author Adam Wears, ‘the effect of these rules will be felt immediately as customers purchase 5G handsets to take advantage of the high speeds and low latency associated with 5G networks.
Hardware makers must take advantage of this opportunity to expand device capabilities in order to keep users upgrading on a regular basis and avoid churn to competitors.’
In another report, Ericsson projects that 5G mobile subscriptions will exceed 580 million by the end of 2021, driven by an estimated one million new 5G mobile subscriptions every day.
The forecast, which features in the latest Ericsson Mobility Report (EMR), confirms the expectation that 5G will become the fastest adopted mobile generation. 5G is expected to surpass a billion subscriptions two years ahead of the 4G LTE timeline for the same milestone.
Ericsson has found that despite the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, service providers continue to switch on 5G, and more than 160 service providers have launched commercial 5G services globally.
The African side of the story
Ericson unveiled two reports that, together, forecast the post-pandemic world and the future of 5G in Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world one of them being the ERM.
The ERM report features breakout statistics from Sub-Saharan African markets where around 15 per cent of mobile subscriptions were for 4G at the end of 2020. Mobile broadband subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa are predicted to increase, reaching 76 per cent of mobile subscriptions by 2026.
However, 5G volumes are not expected to grow in the region for 2021 but are likely to reach around 70 million 5G subscriptions in 2026.
Separately, the Global Telecom Market Report (GTM) also known as “The Future of Urban Reality Report” was also launched by the Ericsson ConsumerLab, to assess the penetration of 5G and the tremendous potential it holds to markets around the world.
The latest Ericsson ConsumerLab report is Ericsson’s largest consumer study to date, revealing key insights about what Sub-Saharan African consumers believe will happen beyond the pandemic, into the year 2025, through surveying a sample of 1,000 to 2,000 respondents between the ages of 15–79.
The report found that, when entering the “next normal”, consumers in Africa will have added an average of 3.4 online services to their daily online activities, while also increasing the time they spend online by 10 hours per week by 2025, in comparison to their pre-pandemic habits.
Todd Ashton, Vice President and Head of Ericsson South and East Africa explained that the recent reports have demonstrated the success of setting #AfricaInMotion.
According to him, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to see continued growth in mobile broadband being driven by the young population, increased coverage, and more affordable smartphones.
“By 2025, we will be looking at a new normal with online activities becoming more common daily. 4G will become more pervasive and 5G will start to grow. As a result, we will definitely see increased economic growth and acceleration in Africa’s digital inclusion,” he said.