The massive purchase of new smartphones due to the arrival of 5G is not on the agenda

The deployment of 5G will not lead to a wave of purchases of new smartphones. The experience in China shows that users appreciate 5G, but do not rush to buy a new device. This is what emerges from the research of our research department.

2022 is the year when 5G mobile services will become widespread in Europe and North America. Upgrading the existing mobile infrastructure is at an advanced stage. The telecom sector hopes that 5G will cause a new wave of purchases of new (more expensive) devices and subscriptions. Sales of new devices have fallen in recent years after peaking in 2016. According to our researchers, a new sales record will not be in sight. In recent years, sales of new cell phones have already lagged behind the boom in consumer electronics (such as computers and game consoles).

Just like in China, users in Western countries are also less likely to buy a new device. We estimate that the average replacement cycle in North America and Europe is now 24 and 40 months respectively (+30% and +24% longer than in 2016). If this continues, the global telecommunications industry will face over $35 billion in lost revenue per year by 2025.

The example of China, home to around 70% of all 5G subscribers globally, is all the more concerning as sales have also disappointed in other leading 5G markets like South Korea and Taiwan. Excellent 5G coverage hasn't boosted sales.

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