MWC Insider Blog

The 5G wars have begun. Global 5G smartphone shipments will jump more than tenfold in 2020. It is the fastest-growing subcategory of the mobile industry. Tens of billions of dollars are at stake. Three companies are in pole position to grab the lion’s share of those dollars — Apple iPhone, Samsung and Huawei.

Huawei is the early leader, based on Strategy Analytics data, capturing 37% share of all 5G smartphones shipped worldwide in 2019. Huawei has deep retail presence at home in China and it has flooded channels with new models like the Mate 30 Pro 5G.
Samsung is a very close second, with 36% share last year. Samsung is an international leader and it is the top player across multiple countries such as the US and UK.
Apple is currently stuck at zero, but it has an eye on the second half of 2020, when it will launch up to four models with 5G connectivity. We predict Apple will ship around 65 million 5G iPhones this year and leapfrog Huawei and Samsung straight to the summit of the 5G rankings.
The 5G smartphone wars are good news for mobile operators at MWC. Fierce competition and rising scale mean cheaper 5G models and a vast array of consumer choice. This gives 4G smartphone owners a reason to visit stores, upgrade to 5G, and accelerate replacement rates.
Early signs from 5G pioneers are encouraging. LG Uplus, of South Korea, reports strong demand for unlimited data plans and total monthly ARPU gains up to 4% in 2019.
Meet Strategy Analytics at MWC to learn more about smartphone wars and other topics from their leading analysts.