Having pioneered the 5G revolution through its X50 modems and further improved it through the X55 modem, chipmaker Qualcomm appears to be on cloud nine. The company believes that there will be 200 million 5G-enabled smartphones manufactured/sold in the year 2020. Observers see this estimate to be largely based on the expectation that Apple is likely to launch all its iPhones of the upcoming year with the 5G speed capability. It has already been confirmed that Qualcomm would be supplying the 5G modems to Apple for its 2020 models.
Volumes will be built only with the iPhones
The discussion on this has been prompted based on certain observations by the CFO of Qualcomm during an investor conference call. The key point he mentioned is that there is an expectation of the demand for 5G hardware to double in 2020. Without naming Apple, the CFO says the period around fall next year will be a major inflection point boosting the demand for its 5G modems. Now, it requires no rocket science to figure out which maker of smartphones he was referring to.
Google too launches its Pixel devices around that time but the real volumes are built through the iPhones. Most other brands, like Samsung, do have 5G phones in their ranges but they don’t add up to much in terms of the numbers. The same goes for the Chinese brands as well. With the iPhones, however, the predictions are already on the sales touching 80 million units in 2020. The decision to release the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Max Pro all with 5G capability will be very crucial here.
China & the US to Lead the Way with 5G Services
China is likely to be the largest market for 5G smartphones since the country is rolling out high-speed internet services across the country. Carriers in the US have committed themselves to expand the service to many more states in 2020. All this will mean that the 200 million units that Qualcomm is speaking of should sound quite practical rather than an illusion.
Apple could deliver a sucker punch to competition next year, despite having been one of the last companies to launch a 5G phone. The company has enough time in its hands to work on developing the iPhones and the apps that will function in the 5G ecosystem. There has to be a seamless integration of hardware and software to deliver the best 5G experience to the users. Qualcomm will be able to work with Apple to make this happen.