More than half of phones sold will be 5G-enabled by 2023 in a "leap" forward for the next-generation wireless network, according to research firm Gartner.
“In 2020, 5G-capable phones will represent 6 per cent of total sales of phones,” Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner said in a statement on Thursday.
“As 5G service coverage increases, user experience will improve and prices will decrease. The leap will occur in 2023 when we expect 5G phones to account for 51 per cent of phone sales.”
The fifth-generation wireless networks, commonly referred to as 5G, will be up to 100 times faster than the 4G network currently used by more than 3.6 billion mobile internet users around the world.
Etisalat and du, the two telecom operators in the UAE have already started selling 5G enabled devices.
Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du) will be spending Dh1.5 billion this year as the telecoms operator aims to support 5G connectivity in the UAE, Saleem Al Balooshi, chief infrastructure officer of EITC recently told The National.
Du has 120 5G towers in the UAE and is set to add 580 more by the end of the year where as Etisalat is constructing more than 1,000 5G towers providing the infrastructure and network to support all 5G devices.
Saudi Telecom Company (STC) of Saudi Arabia also announced the official launch of the 5G wireless network service in the kingdom to boost connectivity in various cities.
Telecom operators in the UAE stand to gain an additional $3.3 billion (Dh12.1bn) in revenues by 2026 from the digitalisation of industries through 5G, according to a report from Swedish technology company Ericsson last year.
Gartner also said worldwide shipments of devices including PCs (personal computers), tablets and mobile phones will total 2.2 billion units in 2019, a decline of 3.3 per cent year-on-year.
The mobile phone market is set to record the worst performance of these device types sliding 3.8 per cent this year, it added.
“If mobile phones don’t provide significant new utility, efficiency or experiences, users won’t upgrade them, and will consequently increase these devices’ life spans,” Mr Atwal said.
The current mobile phone market of 1.7 billion units is around 10 per cent below the 1.9 billion units reached in 2015.
Gartner also estimates that sales of smartphones will drop 2.5 per cent in 2019, which would be the worst decline ever.