210M 2020 5G Estimate Restored as Sale Prices Fall to US$200

China will almost definitely reach its 150 million 2020 target and some estimates are 180 million. 20 million 5G subs are likely in the U.S. 3.4 million 5G phones shipped in the U.S. in Q1 even though the U.S. 5G build in very small. T-Mobile is going to promote 5G strongly around August and Verizon expects to strongly promote iPhone 5G. Korea will pass 10 million and Japan is starting to sell. ~US$400 will soon be common in Europe, driving buyers.

My “surprise-free” estimate is now back at December’s figure of 210 million, after dipping due to the pandemic. The end of May Chinese figure was closer to 50 million than the claimed 75+ million, but 15 million 5G phones sold in China in May. Unicom has dropped the monthly fee 30% to US$13.

Sale prices for 618 fell under $200. The Huawei Honor X10 5G sold out almost immediately at the US$147 price, but the Xiaomi K30 5G was still on sale at US$192 as I write, down from US$228. Oppo, Vivo, Realme, and ZTE all have models under US$280.  The price difference between 4G and 5G is now modest, US$50-110 at retail. The difference in component prices is much less, particularly when Huawei produces its own parts.

A 4G phone will soon seem obsolete; most people not poor will choose a 5G phone with a longer life expectancy, especially after the 5G iPhone comes out this fall.

The Chinese telco CEOs know they might lose their jobs if they don’t reach the targets and will find a way.

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