Sales of 5G phones have surpassed those of 4G models for the first time since the debut of 5G technology

In just three years, 5G technology has ceased to be a “privilege” reserved for those who choose premium phones, with more 5G phones now sold than 4G models.

Driven by chipset manufacturers racing to cover all price niches with 5G-compatible solutions, the democratisation of 5G technology is now a reality, with the purchase of a 5G phone increasingly becoming a choice of opportunity (you liked that model) that doesn’t involve an additional cost to pay, with manufacturers no longer releasing 4G and 5G versions of the same smartphone model. That’s why nowadays, buying a 4G phone is only done if the model you choose is too old, or on too tight a budget to include a chipset from the new 5G-compatible generations.

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According to data provided by Neil Shah, vice president of analyst firm Counterpoint Research, the proportion of 5G to 4G phones sold globally reached 49.9% vs. 49.7% in Q2-2022, with the remaining 0.4% going to a minority made up of 3G-only phones. Of course, the proportion varies from country to country, being higher in countries with high purchasing power, respectively, lower in countries where 5G communications infrastructure development has lagged behind (e.g. India).

If the current trend continues at the same pace, it is plausible that 5G adoption will follow the pattern of 4G, with the gradual replacement of 4G phones now in circulation leaving this type of network as a fallback to be used in regions where 5G coverage remains poor.

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