Apple Expected to Lead 5G Smartphone Shipments in 2020

Though Apple has not yet come out with a 5G iPhone, the company is expected to lead the 5G smartphone market in 2020, according to a new report today from analytics firm Strategy Analytics.

Apple is expected to capture a dominant share of the emerging 5G market in 2020, following the launch of 5G iPhones. Strategy Analytics believes that Apple simply needs to match its current upgrade rates to dominate the 5G market after September 2020.

"It may seem counterintuitive that Apple, which currently has no 5G phones in its portfolio will be able to pass current 5G market leaders Samsung and Huawei," comments Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics. "But with three new 5G models coming next year, Apple merely needs to match its current upgrade rates for newly introduced iPhone models to take the lead next year."

"Currently Samsung is the undisputed market leader in 5G smartphones," comments Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics. "But with the two largest 5G markets in 2020, China and the USA, dominated by Huawei and Apple respectively, these two vendors are set to lead in 5G next year."
All of the iPhones coming in 2020 are expected to include 5G technology, according to well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo originally believed that only the two higher-end iPhones coming in 2020 would support 5G, but later revised his prediction.

Apple will offer 5G speeds for all of its smartphones in order to better compete with lower-cost Android smartphones that support 5G. We're expecting a total of three iPhones in 2020, including a 5.4-inch model, a 6.7-inch model, and a 6.1-inch model.

The 5.4 and 6.7-inch iPhones are expected to be higher-end devices similar to the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, while the 6.1-inch iPhone will feature a lower price tag much like the iPhone 11.

Though Apple is expected to do well in the 5G smartphone market in 2020, Strategy Analytics ultimately believes that Samsung will be the 5G leader longterm due to its "dominance of the overall smartphone market" and broader range of price points.

Huawei's success, meanwhile, is limited by the US trade ban, but it is still expected to be the dominant 5G smartphone provider in China.

For more on Apple's plans for a ‌5G iPhone‌, make sure to check out our guide.


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Report: Apple to Use Qualcomm’s X55 5G Modem in All Three 2020 iPhones

Apple's 2020 iPhones will all use Qualcomm's newest and fastest 5G-capable modem chip, claims a new report out of Asia today.


Apple is expected to launch three iPhones next year in 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch sizes. According to Nikkei Asian Review, all three will carry the 5G modem chip designed by Qualcomm called the X55.
All three of the new iPhones will carry the most advanced 5G modem chip, known as X55 that is designed by U.S. mobile chip developer Qualcomm, four people familiar with the plan told Nikkei. The chip, which enables much faster downloads, faces such an increase in demand that there could be supply constraints, one person added.
The X55 chip offers 7Gb/s peak download speeds and 3Gb/s upload speeds, though these numbers are theoretical maximums and actual speeds will depend on carrier network. The chip is Qualcomm's first 5G chip that supports all major frequency bands, operation modes, and network deployments.

The X55 is also more power efficient than Qualcomm's X50 chip, which means it will draw less energy and will have less of an impact on battery life when connected to a 5G network.

Apple was originally planning to use Intel chips in its 2020 5G iPhones, but Intel is out of the smartphone chip business and Apple has no choice but to use Qualcomm's modem chips.

Apple aims to ship 80 million 5G-capable iPhones next year, claims the report. Apple typically ships between 75 and 80 million new iPhones each year, and it plans to close in on similar targets in 2020 and exploit 5G as a key sales driver, according to Nikkei.
"It will be the first time Apple introduces 5G iPhones ... There will be three of them and the company has set an aggressive sales target," one of the people familiar with the company's thinking said.
In July, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple will offer 5G in all three of its new flagship iPhone models to better compete with lower-cost Android smartphones that will support 5G.

Apple's embrace of 5G is expected to push carriers such as AT&T and Verizon to accelerate their investment in the rollout of 5G infrastructure and catch up with China's rapidly accelerating 5G capabilities.

By 2025, London-based GSMA estimates that China will have 600 million 5G subscribers, or about 40 percent of the global total, notes Nikkei, citing a Financial Times report.

Today's report also corroborates previous rumors that Apple will switch to a 5-nanometer fabrication process for its A14 processor next year. Apple has used a 7nm process since the A12 Bionic chip debuted in 2018, and TSMC has been Apple's exclusive supplier.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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Kuo: All Three iPhones Coming in 2020 Will Support 5G

The three iPhones expected to launch in 2020 will feature support for 5G, according to a new note to investors shared today by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and obtained by MacRumors.

Kuo originally said that two of the three new iPhones coming in 2020 will support 5G, but now believes that Apple will offer 5G in all models to better compete with lower-cost Android smartphones that will support 5G. Kuo also says that following Apple's acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem chip business, Apple has more resources for developing the 5G iPhone.

We now believe that all three new 2H20 iPhone models will support 5G for the following reasons. (1) Apple has more resource for developing the 5G iPhone after the acquisition of Intel baseband business. (2) We expect that the prices of 5G Android smartphones will decline to $249-349 USD in 2H20. We believe that 5G Android smartphones, which will be sold at $249-349 USD, will only support Sub-6GHz. But the key is that consumers will think that 5G is the necessary function in 2H20. Therefore, iPhone models which will be sold at higher prices have to support 5G for winning more subsidies from mobile operators and consumers' purchase intention. (3) Boosting 5G developments could benefit Apple's AR ecosystem.
Kuo says that he expects all three new iPhone models coming in 2020 to support both mmWave and Sub-6GHz spectrum to meet the requirements of the American market, but it is not clear if Apple will launch a 5G iPhone that only supports Sub-6GHz, which would allow for a lower price. He says Apple may not have enough development resources for such a project.
Apple may have the intention to launch the 5G iPhone, which only supports Sub-6GHz, to gain market share by lowering the cost/price for markets which only support Sub-6GHz (e.g., Chinese market). However, 5G iPhone, which only supports Sub-6GHz and the version which supports mmWave & Sub-6GHz are regarded as different projects even though they share the same form factor design.
For those unfamiliar with 5G networks, there are actually two different kinds of 5G. mmWave technology is the super fast 5G that's most often talked about, but not all 5G networks are going to use mmWave technology in all areas because it's best suited to denser urban areas.

In rural and suburban areas, 5G technology will be on mid-bands and low-bands, called sub-6GHz 5G. It's still faster than 4G, but not as fast as mmWave. When 5G finishes rolling out, there will be some areas with mmWave technology where data transfer speeds will be lightning quick, coupled with other more expansive areas that are closer to 4G LTE speeds.

Over time, low-band and mid-band 5G speeds should also get much quicker, but at launch, won't be as fast as mmWave, which is most often in the spotlight.

Apple is planning to use modem chips from Qualcomm in its 2020 5G iPhone lineup, despite its recent acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem chip business. Apple is working on its own modem chips, but that technology isn't going to be ready until 2021.

Along with 5G technology, the 2020 iPhones could be available in new sizes. In a previous note, Kuo said that Apple is going to release 5.4 and 6.7-inch high-end iPhones with OLED displays along with a 6.1-inch model with an OLED display. More information on what to expect in the 2020 iPhones can be found in the dedicated what's next section of our 2019 iPhone roundup.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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Apple in Talks to Purchase Intel’s German Modem Unit

Apple is in talks to buy Intel's German modem unit, which could help the Apple develop its own modem chips more quickly, reports The Information.

Intel is considering selling its modem business in pieces, and this is not the first time we've heard word that Apple's interested in a purchase. Back in April, The Wall Street Journal said that Apple had held discussions with Intel about acquiring parts of the Intel modem chip business, and apparently, those talks are ongoing.

Intel 5G Modem
Any deal between Apple and Intel would likely include Intel patents and products, said one person briefed on the discussions. Such an arrangement would resemble the deal Apple reached with Dialog Semiconductor, a U.K.-based company that designs chips that handle power management chores in devices. Last year, Apple and Dialog struck a $600 million deal that brought 300 Dialog employees to Apple, along with some patents.
The two companies have been in discussions since last year, but The Information warns that the talks could still fall through without a deal.

The Information estimates that a deal for Intel's German modem business could bring "hundreds" of modem engineers to Apple. Intel's chip production facilities are headquartered in Germany after a 2011 purchase of chip maker Infineon.

Intel announced in April that it was exiting the 5G smartphone modem business, sharing the news just hours after Apple and Qualcomm announced a resolution to their ongoing legal battle and established a new supply deal.

Apple had been planning to use Intel's 5G chips for its 2020 iPhones, but rumors indicated Intel wasn't able to meet design deadlines, causing the relationship between the two companies to sour. Apple is now planning to use Qualcomm's 5G modem chips in its 2020 5G iPhones, and is also working on its own modem chip development for later devices.

In the future, Apple is aiming to reduce its dependence on suppliers like Qualcomm by creating its own modem chips, but the company still has a few years to go before the technology is ready. According to The Information, Apple has been telling new modem chip hires in San Diego that it doesn't expect to release devices with its own modem chips until 2025.


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Sprint Launches Mobile 5G Network in Four U.S. Cities

Sprint today announced the initial launch of its mobile 5G network, bringing 5G connectivity to Sprint customers in areas of Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Kansas City.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Sprint expects to expand 5G availability to areas of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington D.C.

At the foundation of Sprint 5G is Massive MIMO, a breakthrough technology that dramatically improves network capacity. Sprint is using 64T64R (64 transmitters 64 receivers) 5G Massive MIMO radios from Ericsson in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Kansas City. These radios support split-mode, enabling Sprint to simultaneously deliver LTE Advanced and 5G NR service. Sprint's 5G Massive MIMO radios run on its 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum, and they are deployed on Sprint's existing 4G cell sites, providing a nearly identical footprint for both 2.5 GHz LTE and 5G NR coverage.
Early 5G networks are limited in scope and are available in small areas in the above listed cities, with residents of those areas able to check out the Sprint press release for specific data on where 5G will be available.

The type of 5G network that Sprint is rolling out uses millimeter wave spectrum, which offers blazing fast data transfer speeds but is sensitive to interference and limited in range, making it best suited to use in urban areas because it can't cover wide swathes of land.

In rural and suburban areas, U.S. carriers, including Sprint, will roll out 5G networks on mid-bands and low-bands, aka sub-6GHz 5G. T-Mobile, the company Sprint is hoping to merge with, is focusing heavily on this more widespread connectivity.

Non mmWave 5G technology won't be as fast as the speeds possible with mmWave, but it will bring improvements over current 4G LTE networks. Sprint says its mmWave 5G technology is 10 times faster than LTE.

Sprint is, in the future, aiming to expand its 5G network through its merger with T-Mobile, though there are concerns that it won't be approved. A recent report suggests the United States Justice Department wants to require T-Mobile and Sprint to "lay the groundwork" for a new wireless carrier (to create a fourth competitor) as a condition for the government allowing the merger to proceed.

Connecting to a 5G network requires a smartphone that supports 5G, and there are few on the market at the current time. Options include the LG ThinQ 5G and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.

There are no iPhones that are able to connect to 5G networks at the current time, and Apple is not expected to release a 5G device until 2020. Rumors suggest 2020 iPhones will feature 5G chips from Qualcomm, following the resolution of the legal woes between Qualcomm and Apple along with Intel's decision to drop out of the 5G chip market.


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EE to Launch 5G in the United Kingdom on May 30

Mobile network EE has announced it will launch 5G in the United Kingdom on May 30, beating rival Vodafone's 5G offering which launches in early July.


At a London press event this morning, EE revealed that the new 5G service will run alongside 4G. EE also confirmed that it won't be throttling its 4G service to make the 5G look faster.

Marc Allera, chief executive of EE, said its 5G radio equipment will be supplied by its partners Qualcomm, Samsung, Google, LG, One Plus, Oppo, HTC, and Huawei.

EE will offer 5G to pre-order from today, with availability initially in six cities. EE says it plans to expand the rollout to 16 cities by the end of the year.

EE is offering 5G plans with next-generation devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, to pre-order from today, but iPhone users will have to wait. Apple isn't prepared to launch 5G iPhones in 2019, making 2020 is almost certainly the year 5G will come to iPhone.

Last week, Vodafone said it will switch on its 5G network in the UK on July 3, making it seem at the time that it would be the first carrier to launch the next-generation cellular technology in the country.


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Vodafone to Switch on UK’s First 5G Network on July 3, 2019

Vodafone on Tuesday said it will switch on its 5G network in the United Kingdom on July 3, 2019, making it the first carrier to announce a firm date for the launch of the next-generation cellular technology in the country.

Seven cities will get 5G coverage at launch, including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London. The rollout will extend by the end of the year to Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.


In a press release on its site, Vodafone said it will price 5G the same as 4G for both consumers and business customers, while a choice of 5G smartphones will be available to buy online or in Vodafone stores over the summer. They will include the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G, the Samsung S10 5G and Huawei Mate 20 X (5G), and the Huawei Mate X (5G).

The company will also offer a 5G router for use in the home and office to give customers without a fixed line connection high-speed broadband access. Vodafone said it will also offer 5G roaming in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain over the summer.
Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: "We started our 5G journey more than three years ago. We led the way in setting 5G standards to ensure phones and networks work well together. We upgraded our masts to be able to take 5G without disruption. And we were the first UK company to test 5G over our all-fibre core fixed and mobile network.

"This is important. It means we can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming. It means that UK businesses can lead the world in adopting 5G to boost productivity and attract investment. It means consumers can get the fastest mobile speeds ever, and it means that our public sector will be able to adopt new services to improve healthcare, social services and housing."
Multiple rumors dating back months have suggested Apple is going to launch a 5G iPhone in 2020, which means the 2019 iPhones will continue to use 4G.

There were questions about whether Apple would be able to acquire 5G chips for its 2020 devices following its dispute with Qualcomm, however that litigation has been cleared up, making a 5G iPhone in 2020 a real prospect.

Apple won't be prepared to launch 5G iPhones in 2019 and can't afford to wait until 2021, with competitors already launching 5G smartphones, therefore 2020 is almost certainly the year 5G will come to iPhone.


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Apple Engineering Leader Handling 5G Efforts Leaves Company

Rubén Caballero, a hardware engineering executive at Apple who worked with suppliers on modem hardware, recently left the company, reports The Information.

Caballero's departure comes just after Apple settled its lawsuit with Qualcomm and inked a deal that will see Qualcomm supplying chips for future Apple devices, including the 5G chips Apple will need for its 2020 iPhones.


Caballero joined Apple back in 2005, and his name has been included on hundreds of Apple patents related to wireless technologies. Caballero is a well-known part of Apple's antenna engineering group, gaining public recognition following the "Antennagate" situation that impacted the iPhone 4.

A person familiar with Caballero's work at Apple told The Information that he had been responsible for "leading Apple's charge into 5G." Caballero's email address is no longer valid, his phone number is no longer active, and he does not appear in Apple's internal directory.

There is no word on why Caballero left the company, but Apple has been restructuring some of its chip teams. Apple's modem engineering efforts were put under chipmaking chief Johny Srouji back in February. Caballero and Apple both declined to comment on his departure.

Apple is planning to release its first 5G iPhone in 2020 and while the launch of the device is still more than a year away, Apple is already working on the future iPhone and ironing out technical details.

Apple will use Qualcomm chips for its first 5G iPhones, and may also be planning to source some chips from Samsung. In the future, Apple is planning to use its own custom-designed modem chips, but Apple-designed modems won't be ready for "another few years."


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Apple Considered Purchasing Intel’s Smartphone Modem Chip Business

Apple had discussions with Intel about potentially acquiring parts of Intel's smartphone modem chip business, reports The Wall Street Journal. Apple was interested in Intel's technology to speed up its own efforts to build modem chips for smartphones.

Intel and Apple entered into discussions last summer and the talks continued for months, but ended right around the time Apple settled its legal dispute and reached a supply agreement with Qualcomm.

Intel 5G Modem
Sources at Intel that spoke to The Wall Street Journal said that Intel is exploring "strategic alternatives" for its smartphone modem chip business, and is still interested in a sale to Apple or another company.

In an interview yesterday, Intel CEO Bob Swan confirmed that Intel is considering alternatives "based on what's best" for Intel's IP and employees.
Selling the modem business would allow Intel to unload a costly operation that was losing about $1 billion annually, according to another person familiar with its performance. Any sale would likely include staff, a portfolio of patents and modem designs related to multiple generations of wireless technology, said Patrick Moorhead, principal at Moor Insights & Strategy, a technology firm.
Intel announced earlier this month that it was exiting the 5G smartphone business, just hours after Apple and Qualcomm announced a resolution to their legal troubles and a new supply deal.

Apple had been planning to use Intel's 5G chips in its 2020 iPhones, but rumors suggested Intel was having trouble meeting design deadlines and that the relationship between Apple and Intel was souring. Just yesterday, Swan also confirmed that Apple's deal with Qualcomm was the reason why Intel decided to stop making 5G chips.

Apple is now planning to use Qualcomm's 5G modem chips in its 2020 5G iPhones. Intel has said that it is going to continue to supply 4G LTE chips to meet already established orders, which means that Apple's 2019 iPhone lineup will likely continue to use Intel chips rather than Qualcomm chips. It is too late in the design cycle for Apple to swap chips for this year's upcoming devices.


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AT&T CEO Believe 5G Phone Plans Could Be Tiered and Priced on Data Speed

The next couple of years will see the rollout of 5G cellular phone networks from companies like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, and it sounds like 5G smartphone plans might not be priced in the same way as current 4G LTE plans.

During today's AT&T earnings call, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said (via The Verge) that he believes the pricing for 5G connectivity could resemble home broadband pricing with different prices for different speed tiers rather than one set price for the fastest connectivity available.

"I will be very surprised if, as we move into wireless, the pricing regime in wireless doesn't look something like the pricing regime you see in fixed line. If you can offer a gig speed, there are some customers that are willing to pay a premium for 500 meg to a gig speed, and so forth. So I expect that to be the case. We're two to three years away from seeing that play out."
5G networks are still in the early days, so how pricing will ultimately work out remains to be seen. It's also not clear how variable pricing for tiered speeds would work given the fact that 5G connections speeds are going to vary depending on whether you're in a city or in a more rural area.

The fastest 5G speeds, available through mmWave technology, will be limited to urban areas. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg this week explained that millimeter wave high-frequency spectrum isn't suitable for widespread coverage, a sentiment shared by T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, who wrote a blog post on the subject earlier this week.
Some of this is physics - millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum has great potential in terms of speed and capacity, but it doesn't travel far from the cell site and doesn't penetrate materials at all. It will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments.
AT&T has launched its 5G network in a handful of markets across the United States, and other carriers, like Verizon, have also been starting their 5G network rollouts.

There are few smartphones that are able to take advantage of 5G networks at the current time, but additional 5G smartphones are expected later in 2019.

Rumors suggest Apple's first 5G iPhone will come out in 2020, when 5G networks are more mature and more widely available. Apple is planning to use chips from Qualcomm and perhaps Samsung now that Intel is out of the 5G smartphone modem chip business.

Tags: AT&T, 5G, 5G iPhone

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