With the Mobile World Congress 2019 just days away, it is easy to expect a cross-section of the event will be filled with prototypes of next generation smartphones designed to take advantage of 5G services.
IHS Markit’s latest whitepaper – Substance behind the Hype: 5G Smartphones Primed and Ready for Fast Rollout – alludes to the possibility that the industry will have learned from the transitions that occurred with previous generation – enough to be positive about things anyway.
“It is easy to paint the current momentum behind 5G as the usual pre-launch hype drummed up by vested stakeholders,” said Wayne Lam, principle analyst for IHS Markit and lead author of the white paper. “However, the mobile industry is fundamentally better prepared and more aligned with a common standard than at any previous technology transition.”
Lam noted that the 5G electronic ecosystem is significantly more mature, at this point, compared to the same time during the LTE transition. “Key 5G chipsets have been tested, proven and designed into devices, and the industry is now poised to deliver their first 5G smartphone in early 2019.”
Industry uncertainly adds friction to development and discourages firms from making big bets when the outcome is less than certain. While past wireless technology upgrades had competing standards vying for industry attention, there is no doubt about the air interface standard that will be used for 5G.
George Zhao, president of HONOR acknowledged the competitive nature of the smartphone market. He remains optimistic, however, that 5G will be a turning point of the smartphone industry this year.
“5G will not only build a society with full mobility and bridge the gap between the virtual world and reality seamlessly, but also create more new possibilities for the industry. We strongly believe that mobile carriers who can overcome technical difficulties and offer a thorough solution will become the top players to lead the 5G era,” he added.
Despite its relatively new entry into the game, HONOR has performed well in 2017 achieving 170% year-on-year increase in its overseas markets despite the global smartphone shipment recorded its fifth consecutive quarter of decline.
“We believe that only the high quality, continuous innovation, customer-centric service will help us to sustain our rapid business growth in global markets. We are very confident that we can build on the success and go further in 2019,” concluded Zhao.
“As telecom companies embark on the start of another wireless generation transition, they are doing so with a robust and coordinated ecosystem of carriers, handset makers and component suppliers,” Lam said. “By and large, the industry is finding itself with an unprecedented opportunity to execute a wireless transition in the best position possible.”