Honor X10 148 230

The Huawei Honor X10 5G, pictured, sold out almost immediately at the US$147 price, But the Xiaomi K30 5G was still on sale at US$192 as I write, down from US$228. Oppo, Vivo, Realme, and ZTE all have models under US$280. These are fine phones, about 6.5" and with 3 or 4 cameras. (618 is a special sales holiday at jd.com and Alibaba. Prices tumble and sales are many billions. Amazon's "Prime Day" is a copy.)

13 phone makers are fighting for a market that can only really support 4 or 5. Xiaomi set off the price with a US$285 announcement in December, one reason I put out the 210 million forecast, twice as high as most others. Even the most aggressive didn't expect prices of $200-250 before late in the year. 

Component prices have been tumbling. MediaTek and Qualcomm have been slashing prices on their new mid-range 5G chips, while UNISOC/  is now also shipping chips. BOE in particular has a massive capacity for screens. Qualcomm has new RF front end components, forcing the traditional RF vendors to fight for market share. Sony has a billion-dollar camera plant that must keep busy. 

5G, disappointing in the West, is exploding in China. 15 million phones in May, 10,000 bases upgraded per week, price dropped from ~$18 to ~$13/month. China almost certainly will hit its 2020 goal of 150 million. The 5G iPhone with 5 nm processor going into production in July, should be a big seller in U.S. late in the year. 

dave ask

@analysisbranch for latest updates


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. daveb@dslprime.com

Also see