5G smartphone shipments surpass 2 billion globally in Q4 2023

Improved availability and affordability of 5G smartphones pushed growth, even as the technology was increasingly made available by telecom operators

February 24, 2024 03:53 pm | Updated 04:57 pm IST

Global 5G smartphone shipments surpassed 2 billion units globally in Q4 2023.

Global 5G smartphone shipments surpassed 2 billion units globally in Q4 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Global 5G smartphone shipments surpassed 2 billion units globally in Q4 2023. The milestone was achieved within five years, the shortest period when compared to previous technologies like 4G and 3G.

Nearly 70% of all 5G shipments came from developed smartphone markets including China, U.S. and Western Europe. Major smartphone makers like Apple and Samsung emerged as the top 5G smartphone brands, shipping over one billion units cumulatively, Counterpoint, a global market research firm shared in a press release.

The affordability and accessibility of 5G smartphones also improved due to the narrowing price gap between 5G and 4G chipsets. The reduction in cost of components from major players like Qualcomm and MediaTek also enabled manufacturers, especially Chinese brands, to launch entry-level 5G devices expanding the scope of adoption.

The adoption of 5G smartphones was accelerated by aggressive promotion from smartphone brands that focussed on 5G capabilities and features. The launch of the iPhone 12 series significantly accelerated 5G adoption taking shipments to above 100 million units in a single quarter for the first time in Q4 202. The momentum continued and shipments hit a new record in Q4 2023, reaching 200 million units in a single quarter, the release said.

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Developed markets are nearing saturation, with the contribution of 5G smartphones to the total shipments crossing 80% in 2023 led by the premium segment. Further higher consumer awareness and demand for 5G as a feature in the developing world was made available by telecom operators further pushing adoption.

Even in markets where 5G networks are not fully operational, consumers opt for 5G smartphones to future-proof their investment. And emerging markets like India and Southeast Asia are expected to drive the momentum for the next billion of 5G smartphone shipments.

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