5G growth issues
5G smartphones today are much more readily available than the 4G devices were during the two wireless standards’ initial rollouts. However, in 2019, there still aren’t enough 5G-compliant handsets to go around.
“The lack of devices is a global problem, although some countries and companies enjoy preferential access,” Aravantinos said. “The 5G devices on the market have quickly run out of stock as the number of deployments increases. Demand has exceeded smartphone suppliers’ expectations in the first half of 2019, particularly during the burst of launches in the second quarter in South Korea, the United States and Switzerland. The smartphone makers simply couldn’t keep pace with the requested volumes.”
Because the South Korean market has been consuming most of the 5G devices already in stock, the lack of smartphones has delayed launches in several markets, pushing back the dates from 2019 to 2020. South Korea reached 1 million 5G subscribers just 69 days after the initial launch date. This was markedly faster than the 80 days it took the country to reach its first 1 million 4G subscribers in 2011.
In the U.K. and Switzerland, operators have experienced issues with the delay in delivery of home broadband routers. This delay resulted in a sales freeze for 5G home broadband services. Huawei has been hit by a U.S. ban on buying American parts and components, which could affect its production cycle.
The quick rise in launches parallels other rapid developments in the 5G market compared to the initial 4G deployment. During 4G’s first year of launch, there were only three smartphones available to consumers that supported the standard. In contrast, 5G this year boasts at least 20 smartphone designs available for release to the market. This demonstrates the high degree of market readiness for 5G, and its capability to attain high volumes more quickly than 4G.