IFA International 2019 Day 6 Edition








Anna Ahrens

Senior Research Analyst,

Mobile Handsets, IHS Markit


5G has the power to drive the smartphone category into a new era.

No wonder it has been in such high profile at IFA

With the many announcements being made at

IFA regarding 5G, the future looks bright for a

mobile phone category that had stalled. We

spoke to Anna Ahrens, Senior Research Analyst,

Mobile Handsets, IHS Markit and started by

asking her about the market for 5G.

This IFA has been

very important for the

smartphone market, which

is one of the most dynamic

markets in the world right

now in consumer electronics.

5G is a big topic and we

have seen very important

announcements at IFA, which

will drive 5G adoption in

mobile devices.

Which were the key


Samsung is including 5G in

the mid-range of its phones –

which is the first time that 5G

has come to the mid-range.

Initially, manufacturers

put 5G chips exclusively in

their flagship phones and

now, following Qualcomm’s

announcement at IFA,

Samsung is bringing the same

5G feature not only on its

flagship phones, but also to

phones in its 6 and 7 Series.

How has 5G advanced

around the world?

The first 5G network

was introduced in Korea,

followed by the US, and then

Switzerland came on board.

What is interesting about

5G in Europe, is that the first

phone Switzerland adopted

for its 5G introduction was

a Chinese manufacturer


Now we have tests across

Europe. The UK has started

with 5G; in Germany, we have

several cities and areas that

have started; and Finland,

Ireland, Italy and Spain are

coming with 5G. There will be

20 operators offering 5G by

the end of the year in Europe.

In Korea, there are already

one million people with a

5G subscription, and the

numbers are increasing very

fast, since its introduction

earlier this year. We estimate

that 9.5 million 5G units will

be sold this year globally,

with more than 400 million

units sold in 2023.

What are the barriers

to 5G from an end user


The barrier is the

infrastructure at the

moment, not the hardware

of smartphones. The

infrastructure will come. In

this case, we are speaking

about the first hardware

being ready for 5G before

the infrastructure, which is

the first time in the history

of the infrastructure and

smartphone relationship.

For consumers, 5G brings a

new experience, with higher

screen resolutions, a lot of

artificial intelligence and

augmented reality – and

gaming, in particular cloud

gaming, is a big topic for 5G,

due to the high speed and the

amount of data that can be

transferred very fast.

What are the other

key developments in


Manufacturers are

increasing the active area of

the screen and new formats

include foldable screens;

Samsung, for example, is

launching a foldable screen,

5G smartphone at IFA.

The foldable market will

be challenging, primarily

down to the price of the

latest devices, but it also

has some potential. At the

price points that exist right

now, it is difficult to achieve

large numbers of sales. We

are estimating 500,000 this

year and we believe it will

increase to about 40 million

in 2024.

5G will definitely drive

smartphone sales


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