5G commercial handsets to launch in 2020, new report predicts

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The first commercial handsets running on 5G networks will launch in 2020, new research has claimed, and will exceed more than 300 million sales by 2025.

The report from Strategy Analytics predicted trial handsets are likely to be launched in 2018, when several operators are expected to jump with pre-standardised networks to coincide with major sporting events.

However, it warned the first handsets are likely to have issues including short battery life, no handover to LTE networks and unstable connectivity. It added the first commercial handsets are also likely to be very expensive.

Guang Yang, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics said: “5G network plans have developed well in 2016, driving an ecosystem which will put seven percent of mobile connections on 5G networks by 2025. China’s 2020 5G launch plans brings it closer to early adopters in the US, South Korea and Japan, who are speeding up progress to meet the broadband access demands from the Olympic Games and competition of non-traditional players. In contrast,  European operators are currently paying more attention to opportunities in IoT.”

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, added: “While the first commercial 5G handsets will appear in small numbers in 2020 in South Korea and Japan, from 2021 more countries including the US, UK, Sweden, UAE and China will see their own launches. By 2022 tens of millions of 5G handsets will be sold, and as a proportion of total handset sales will reach low single digit percentages.”

Earlier this week, Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom said their 5G collaboration plan would go transcontinental. The telcos have roped in numerous players on their project.

BT and Nokia also announced a separate 5G partnership in August.