Qualcomm believes that 2020 is going to be a massive year for 5G, and based on all we know about how the technologies have rolled out so far, it seems safe enough to assume that’s correct. But Qualcomm is putting some real numbers down: it expects that 200 million 5G smartphones will be sold throughout 2020, but for that to happen, it means that it needs to be available at many price-points – not just the high-end.
According to Reuters, Qualcomm referenced “flagship devices launching next fall”, which the publication reads into as being related to Apple releases. Apple releasing a 5G phone with Qualcomm inside wouldn’t be a surprise, since we learned earlier this year that the two companies were teaming up. Apple also recently acquired a bunch of 5G-related patents from Intel, but it’s clear that whatever fruits that acquisition brings will not be seen for a while.
In the same Reuters article, it’s mentioned that Qualcomm’s CFO Akash Palkhiwala claims there will be two inflection points for 5G next year, with the first happening in the spring, and the second in the fall. The fall lines up nicely with iPhone releases, so we could very well see 5G-enabled Apple phones next year. As for the spring, that could revolve around a couple of events, but it may be too late for Mobile World Congress, which takes place in late February.
Qualcomm continued its projections for our 5G future in a press release today, noting an increase in sales enablement success by 2035, increasing $1T to $13.2 trillion. To the casual observer, the reason for the increase could be surprising: it’s because the 5G rollout is happening quicker than expected.
As noted at the company’s 5G Summit in October, Qualcomm said that 30 live 5G networks are in operation, and more than 40 OEMs are planning to release 5G devices in the future. “Devices” is a key word here, since in time, 5G will be used for a lot more than just our smartphones. Even our lowly IoT and other smart devices could benefit from the always-on connection, so it’s only a matter of time before 5G surrounds us.