China Mobile Vice President Jian Qin: "5G mobile phones will be reduced to 1000-2000 yuan next year." (Google translation) (US$145-289) This corresponds to my earlier report from Peter Chou of Huawei that he is targeting $300 phones in 2020.

The question shouldn't be how they can go so low but rather "Why are 5G phones so expensive for now?" 5G phones are no longer mysterious. They require a better processor like a Qualcomm 855 or Huawei Kirin 980. A 5G modem and larger battery are also needed. The hardest part is the radio frequency front end (power amplifiers, transceivers, and especially filters.)  5G uses many more frequency bands. At the high speeds, only a few companies can make the parts. 

The difference in the costs of parts (bill of materials) between 4G and 5G models today should be US$40-75.  That will come down next year as MediaTek and UNISOC ship the 5G chips they have announced. Four companies - Skyworks, Qorvo, Broadcom/Avago, and Qualcomm/TDK - offer the RF parts, with several Chinese companies racing to deliver similar products.

Decent 4G phones this year cost US$200-300. Even US$110 buys a usable phone.

Next year, as always, costs will come down. 

dave ask


Rethinking Jan 27: Coronavirus could invalidate all projections. I reported on AIDS for 2 years. This could be worse because it spreads in air. Let us hope and pray.

Details on all 5G phones, as prices drop to $285 ** All actual 5G networks worldwide ** Facebook ordered to repost Italian fascist page. ** Apple China sales down 35%** Qorvo sees 300M 5G 2020 & 750M 2023 mmWave <10%

** Bharti demands India Gov more than double prices and enforce cartel. Sunil Mittal "Situation is dire. It is a matter of survival for everyone." ** Wi-Fi 6 meets ITU 5G criteria @stephenjcrowley ** Samsung $8B for Chinese memory plants ** Morgan paying billions for Altice fiber

Dec 10 Sprint bringing $300-500 5G phones to US 2020. Nokia, Lenovo, HMD ** H., Apple, and AMD doing 5 nm test runs on TSMC's 5 nm. Early results are 15-30% better than 7 nm ** AT&T low-band 5G built to >65% US. Speeds slower than 4G at launch. ** 

Verizon CEO Ronan Dunne: >1/2 VZ 5G "will approximate to a good 4G service" Midband in "low hundreds" Mbps ** CFO John Stephens says AT&T is going to cut capex soon. ** Huawei in 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  


Welcome  Asia is installing hundreds of thousands of 5G radios and adding 5G subs by the tens of millions. The west is far behind. 200,000,000 in 2020

The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

I'm Dave Burstein, Editor. I've been reporting telecom since 1999. I love to hear from readers and say thank you when you find an error.

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