Who Is ‘Really’ Leading In Mobile 5G, Part 3: 5G Mobile Handsets

Samsung S10 5G

Notice: Moor Insights & Technique analyst Anshel Sag contributed considerably to this text.

Until you’re dwelling underneath a rock, you already know 5G is the subsequent era of cellular networks and will be the connectivity backbone most units sooner or later. Due to the crucial nature of 5G and the way it will help shape the subsequent decade, many corporations are finding methods to latch onto 5G and even claim management in 5G. Many articles and evaluation on 5G leadership we’ve learn have been one dimensional and shallow, and we decided to research and write this collection.

This text makes up Part Three of our collection, specializing in 5G handset leadership as just about almost all 5G units out at the moment are smartphones, with a couple of exceptions. In Part 1, we coated 5G intellectual property and patent management, which is troublesome as a result of a lot of the 3GPP contributions are usually not public. In Part 2, we coated 5G chipsets and the standing of all of the totally different gamers in the area. In Part 3 analysis, we’ll concentrate on the handsets and the manufacturers that build units utilizing the presently out there chipsets and where these units are used.

Defining 5G handset leadership

In terms of handset management in 5G, our definition depends on a couple of elements. The first issue is whether or not that producer is delivery a device or has announced one. As soon as that’s established, the variety of handsets delivery and the number of carriers supported can be thought-about. Help for Sub-6GHz and mmWave can also be an element because mmWave is more durable to do in a cellular gadget and requires more experience and engineering.

If an OEM isn’t at present delivery a device, then management shall be measured by public demonstrations of 5G and or the announcement dates of help for 5G in its units. If a producer does not have any public dates or demonstrations, then public rumors are all that can be measured, and we contemplate that to be in the final class. The classes we can be using for this might be leaders, shut followers, late followers, and laggards.

5G Handset “Leaders.”


It’s straightforward to point out that Samsung has the 5G smartphone manufacturer lead among the rest of the business. It has efficiently shipped 5G telephones with multiple carriers in multiple geographies on a number of 5G bands, including mmWave and Sub-6GHz.

Presently, the Galaxy S10 5G is Samsung’s main 5G system for international operators delivery in Australia, Korea, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. Samsung worked with a number of operators as properly, together with Telstra in Australia, which is an exclusive agreement and has been proven to exceed speeds of 1.2 Gbps+. In Korea, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G is out there on SK Telecom, Korea Telecom and LG UPlus with speeds as much as 2.6 Gbps as reported by SK Telecom. In Switzerland, Sunrise and Swisscom both supply the Galaxy S10 5G and have service obtainable as nicely. In the UK, the Galaxy S10 5G is accessible on both EE and Vodafone and offering 5G over Sub-6GHz spectrum very similar to Swiss carriers. The rationale for Samsung selling units in Switzerland and the UK with only Sub-6GHz spectrum is as a result of the spectrum first made obtainable in Europe has predominantly been Sub-6GHz spectrum. Last but definitely not least are the US operators which Samsung has completed a clear sweep with all 4 major operators; AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon that provide variations of the Galaxy S10 5G, whether it’s Sub-6Ghz or mmWave. My colleague, Anshel Sag, lately attended AT&T’s Form conference in Los Angeles at Warner Brothers Studios and witnessed speeds up to 1.eight Gbps and heard rumors of speeds over 2 Gbps. CNET even corroborated some of these speeds with their testing on website in the course of the occasion.

Samsung also had a delayed 5G version of the Galaxy Fold in the works, as it pulled back the Galaxy Fold’s international launch as a consequence of mechanical issues. Samsung says it resolved those points and the corporate plans to convey the system again to the market quickly, which may imply we might see a second 5G system from Samsung out there very quickly.

Samsung is among the few producers that is delivery each mmWave and Sub-6GHz units in-market and is doing so in a number of geographies and doing it with a tool that’s principally the same measurement and shape as its normal 4G model, albeit with a slightly bigger display and battery measurement. All of those talents are what we consider makes them one of many, if not the chief in 5G handsets right now.

Samsung’s units are a mix of Samsung’s own Exynos 5G modem and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 paired with Snapdragon X50 modem, with a sporadic combination from one geography to a different.


Following Samsung is one other Korean handset maker; LG. LG’s management is like Samsung’s in that the company created a brand new system to deliver 5G to its operators and clients. LG’s gadget for 5G markets is the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. One of the notable features of the LG V50 ThinQ 5G is that the back of the gadget has a light-up 5G emblem that lets individuals know that it’s operating on a 5G network. Also, like Samsung, LG is delivery each mmWave and Sub-6Ghz model of its units with minimal bodily modifications all over the world on multiple carriers.

In Australia, LG’s V50 ThinQ 5G is accessible on Telstra, using Sub-6GHz, the identical 3.5 GHz band that many different international operators presently run Sub-6GHz 5G networks on. In the Korean house market, LG joins Samsung on all three major carriers, which embrace KT, LG UPlus, and SK Telecom. In Switzerland, Swisscom carries the LG V50 ThinQ whereas it appears that Dawn doesn’t. Switzerland is a Sub-6Ghz market and so is the UK as the LG V50 ThinQ is going to initially be a Sub-6GHz band gadget used for 5G, which is at present out there on the only EE. In Spain, LG can also be obtainable on Vodafone with as soon as again another Sub-6GHz version. Vodafone Italy additionally has the LG V50 ThinQ 5G out there on the market on Sub-6GHz spectrum. In the US, LG’s V50 ThinQ 5G is out there on both Sprint & Verizon and supports Sub-6GHz on Dash and mmWave on Verizon.

LG’s V50 ThinQ is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem in all versions of the gadget in all geographies on all operators.


OPPO is likely one of the world’s upcoming smartphone manufacturers and was one of many first manufacturers to launch a 5G telephone in Europe. The OPPO Reno 5G, very similar to the opposite manufacturers’ models is successfully a 5G model of the OPPO Reno telephone that launched earlier this yr. The OPPO Reno 5G is simply out there as a Sub-6GHz gadget, which signifies that all the carriers which might be carrying the system are Sub-6GHz operators at present. Right now, OPPO is delivery the Reno 5G in Australia on Telstra, in Switzerland on Swisscom and in the UK on EE. OPPO can also be slated to have the Reno 5G out there on UAE operator Etisalat subsequent month with pre-orders out there now. There hasn’t been any speak about a mmWave model of the Reno 5G. Nevertheless, OPPO is a really progressive firm and should come to market with one later. Presently, the markets that OPPO is most popular and profitable in predominantly don’t have mmWave, so OPPO isn’t as aggressive about it as different producers is perhaps. I anticipate that OPPO will in all probability come to market with a mmWave variant if it plans to go after the Korean or American markets. OPPO can also have a mmWave version once China’s 5G networks go stay and operators make mmWave spectrum out there.

The OPPO Reno 5G additionally makes use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem for its handsets.


Xiaomi has already announced and is at present delivery a 5G telephone, which very similar to the competition is a modified model of a tool that the company is already delivery. Xiaomi’s 5G system is the Mi Mix 3 5G, the 5G version of the already launched Mi Mix 3 smartphone which encompasses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and provides the Snapdragon X50 modem within the 5G model. The Mi Combine Three 5G solely ships with Sub-6 GHz 5G functionality, which limits it to networks which are Sub-6GHz, which is at present most networks right now. Nevertheless, down the street which will change to where most networks might be a mix of mmWave and Sub-6GHz. As such, the Xiaomi Mi Combine Three 5G is at present obtainable in Switzerland on Dawn and in Spain, Italy and the UK on Vodafone.

5G Handset “Close Followers.”


OnePlus is one other smartphone producer that has seen plenty of progress, especially in India, the US, and Europe. OnePlus additionally has a 5G smartphone, and the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G is predicated on its OnePlus 7 Professional that launched earlier this yr to a lot excitement. Because of OnePlus’ shut relationship with OPPO, it isn’t a surprise that the corporate was capable of put out a 5G gadget out in time and get it first in the UK on EE. In addition to EE in the UK, The OnePlus 7 Professional 5G is on the market on Elisa in Finland working on Sub-6GHz spectrum.

While the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G shouldn’t be obtainable on many operators fairly but, I consider that OnePlus has plans to launch on extra operators very soon. OnePlus has a really close relationship with T-Mobile within the US, and the company launched the OnePlus 7 Pro on its community, so I anticipate that the 5G variant will launch on T-Mobile as nicely.

The OnePlus 7 Pro 5G like lots of its rivals, additionally features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem. (pending MWC Shanghai information)


As a result of Lenovo owns both Motorola and Lenovo handset divisions, we’ll embrace each manufacturers in this assessment of its 5G handsets. At present, Motorola’s Z3 and Z4 are 4G units. Nevertheless, Motorola did make the ‘Moto 5G Mod’ which is an attachment system that can attach to a Motorola Z4 or Z3 gadget which has its personal Snapdragon 855 and Snapdragon X50 modem and mmWave antennas for 5G connectivity. This gadget is at present only obtainable on Verizon; nevertheless, it is potential that it might be bought on other carriers as properly. In addition to the 5G Moto mod, Lenovo also announced its own Z6 Professional 5G smartphone with dual-sim 4G and 5G connectivity. Nevertheless, there isn’t a date for this gadget and will almost definitely launch in China as most Lenovo handsets do. Both of Lenovo’s at present deliberate units function on the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 modem, so far as we are aware and what’s been announced up to now.


Huawei has been a really curious case in relation to its 5G products. It has introduced two units, the Mate 20X 5G, and the Mate X 5G. The Mate 20X 5G, very similar to the rest of the rivals is a modified model of the already released Mate 20 Pro. It features Huawei’s personal HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC paired with the new Balong 5000 5G modem with solely Sub-6GHz band help. Nevertheless, the gadget was presupposed to launch on a number of carriers in Europe including Swisscom, EE and Vodafone and all those carriers pulled its Huawei units after the US ban on Huawei affected Google’s relationship with the OEM.

Initially, Swiss operator Sunrise did pull the Mate 20X 5G gadget from its website, however the gadget seems to be on backorder its website at the time of writing which means that Sunrise is the only operator to carry a Huawei 5G system globally. Huawei had plans to release the Mate X foldable telephone with 5G capability, however the company has delayed that system citing the US ban. The company initially communicated that the Mate X might probably be able to the mmWave spectrum in addition to Sub-6GHz, however then clarified that the potential may be there later this yr. Nevertheless, we’ve but to see a mmWave RFIC from the corporate, and all others with mmWave functionality have developed its RF-frontend for mmWave, and Huawei depends on suppliers for its RFFE to this date, so I’m unsure how or when Huawei may have mmWave functionality.

Huawei also has plans to launch its Mate 20X 5G in the UAE this summer time on two carriers, however actual dates usually are not quite strong yet. Huawei’s 5G plans might have been delayed and shaken up a bit, but we’ll proceed to comply with the corporate’s plans as the company launches units on operators’ networks.

5G Handset “Late Followers.”


ZTE has been a long-time player within the business and suffered a big blow to its competitiveness when the company was caught violating US sanctions on Iran. The US authorities briefly reduce them off from all US suppliers and ultimately backpedaled after negotiations, probably saving the whole company and its products. The ban put a bit of a wrench in the firm’s gears and may explain why the company has only announced one gadget, the ZTE Axon 10 Professional 5G. Nevertheless, ZTE has been dropping its edge to the likes of Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo so which may play into ZTE’s late follower standing as nicely.

The corporate has at present only introduced that its ZTE Axon 10 Pro system, which is a variant of the Axon 10 that the company is already delivery is obtainable in the UAE on Etisalat. ZTE says that the Axon 10 Pro 5G can be obtainable in Europe in the first half of 2019, however not one of the European operators at the time of writing are carrying this system and there’s lower than every week left in the first half of 2019.


Vivo has shown prototypes like the Vivo NEXT 5G prototype, however lately at MWC Shanghai 2019 the company finally introduced its first business 5G telephone, the iQOO 5G. The iQOO 5G, very similar to different operators is already a device that operates on 4G, and the 5G variant is an update to that while nonetheless operating a Snapdragon 855, it adds the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 modem and RF Entrance-end  so as to add 5G functionality. Vivo says the gadget will probably be out there in Q3 however hasn’t said service availability fairly but. It can probably be focused on the Chinese language market, as the Vivo iQOO is likely one of the best-selling telephones within the Chinese market and can doubtless coincide with Chinese language operators 5G launches.


Nubia, one other Chinese smartphone manufacturer, has committed to delivering a 5G telephone this yr however didn’t give any particulars until this week at MWC Shanghai 2019. The corporate announced the Nubia X 5G which very similar to the opposite producers introduced shares the same design as the 5G model of the Nubia X. The Snapdragon 855 SoC powers the Nubia X 5G like its 4G predecessor however provides the Snapdragon X50 modem to deliver 5G functionality. The Nubia X 5G does not presently have any service availability or any anticipated common availability dates or pricing, but. Nevertheless, earlier this month Nubia did state that the corporate plans to ship the Pink Magic gaming smartphone in India and China in 2020 with 5G functionality.

5G Handset “Laggards”


Apple has been lagging behind the rest of the business with regards to 5G. Apple has previously relied on Intel for its 4G connectivity, but just lately ended that relationship as what was rumored as delays. I consider that Apple’s settlement with Qualcomm to provide it with modems means that we’ll get a 5G iPhone from Apple in 2020. Due to Apple’s secretive nature, most of what’s recognized about Apple’s 5G telephone is predicated on rumors and conjecture. In addition to its multi-year chip and license cope with Qualcomm, Apple can also be hiring aggressively to build out its 5G capabilities, however I anticipate that would take anyplace from 3-5 years depending on whether or not Apple acquires Intel’s 5G modem business and IP.


Google is the purveyor of the Android operating system that each one 5G telephones presently run on; nevertheless, as a tool maker, Google is incredibly quiet about its plans around 5G. The corporate has teased that its subsequent version of the Pixel, the Pixel 4 is coming quickly, but hasn’t given any hints that it’d come with a 5G variant. We anticipate that Google will come to market with a brand new telephone in October and that there’s a high chance that it’ll function Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 modem for 5G connectivity.


Whereas HTC does supply the 5G HTC Hub by means of operators like Sprint within the US, the gadget just isn’t a smartphone, and the company appears to continue to wrestle to offer aggressive telephone designs. No one is aware of whether or not or not HTC will launch any 5G phones this yr, however it might be troublesome to do since HTC bought an enormous portion of the company’s smartphone engineering expertise to Google last yr.


Honor is Huawei’s value model and usually follows the rest of Huawei’s lead on new applied sciences. As such, there’s been little or no concrete info from Honor when it comes to 5G, and when you think about that Huawei only presently has one telephone promoting globally on one operator but isn’t in inventory but, there isn’t much hope for Honor right now. Honor’s President George Zhao, based on Android Authority, made daring claims relating to the brand’s capabilities in 5G but didn’t give any concrete dates aside from stating that Honor can be first to market and that Honor may have a 5G telephone in 2019. Honor has nonetheless not stated what gadget or when it should come to market or with which operator, so we think about most of these statements to be hyperbole at greatest.


Sony’s smartphone business has struggled as of the previous few years, nevertheless it continues to launch new phones. The corporate has not made any concrete announcements relating to a 5G telephone, however Sony has proven off a working prototype of a 5G telephone based mostly on a few of its present designs. The closest that Sony has come to a 5G gadget is its mmWave 5G prototype at MWC 2019, and it seems that it’s as far as the company has come to releasing a 5G system. There have been rumors that the corporate might come to market with a foldable 5G system, however it seems to be unsubstantiated conjecture at this point principally.

HMD International (Nokia)

HMD International is the license holding three way partnership between Foxconn Electronics and Nokia to design and manufacture smartphones. It hasn’t necessarily been one to go after the flagship a part of the market, which is at present where most 5G phones exist because of 5G being a premium function. As such, HMD has been coy about its 5G plans and giving actual dates or fashions. The company hasn’t demonstrated any 5G applied sciences or shown any prototypes, and the most effective we’ve when it comes to future info are some rumors that HMD will launch two 5G telephones in late Q3. HMD International lately signed a 5G multi-mode international patent settlement with Qualcomm final month in Might, so HMD is most certainly gearing up to launch a 5G gadget comparatively soon, but anyone’s guess is nearly as good as mine at this level.

So, who’s leading?

After going by way of all of the smartphone vendors around the market and assessing what they at present have, it appears that there is quite clearly a clear leader in 5G smartphones. Samsung is above and past ahead of all of the competition in 5G smartphones, and we consider that this leadership will continue into the remainder of this yr and next yr as the company prepares its next era of 5G units. Samsung additionally simply said a couple of days in the past that the company has already bought 1 million Galaxy S10 5G phones in just Korea alone, which is a powerful statistic for such a brand new know-how. Samsung is an in depth companion of Qualcomm’s, and Qualcomm has already said that it plans to deliver a 5G SoC to market subsequent yr and Samsung already dedicated to utilizing that next-generation processor at MWC Barcelona this yr. One factor to think about as nicely is that most of the Chinese language operators are getting ready to launch their 5G networks comparatively quickly and meaning the Chinese language OEMs will possible achieve loads of traction earlier than the top of this yr and ship appreciable amounts of units.

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