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


Vivo is selling new the iQOO 5G premium quality phone for US$536.

Lei Jun Xiaomi "5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020"5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020" I say sooner

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.

Bharti in India has lost 45M customers who did not want to pay the minimum USS2/month. It's shutting down 3G to free some spectrum for 4G. It is cutting capex, dangerous when the 12 gigabytes/month of use continues to rise.

Huawei in 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  

China has over 50,000 upgraded base stations and may have more than 200,000 by yearend 2019. The growth is astonishing and about to accelerate. China will have more 5G than North America and Europe combined for several years.

5G phone prices are down to $580 in China from Oppo. Headed under $300 in 2020 and driving demand.

No one believed me when I wrote in May, 90% of Huawei U.S. purchases can be rapidly replaced and that Huawei would survive and thrive. Financial results are in, with 23% growth and increased phone sales. It is spending $17B on research in 2019, up > 10%. 

5G phones spotted from Sharp and Sony

NTT DOCOMO will begin "pre-commercial service Sept 20 with over 100 live bases. Officially, the commercial start is 2020.

 More newsfeed


Welcome  1,800,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first four months. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 3X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80+% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.