6.7M

Samsung

Samsung announced on Thursday that it sold 6.7 million 5G phones in 2019. At the end of Q3, it had sold about 2 million devices and expected to double those sales in the last quarter. Surpassing its own projections, the company closed out the year with 53.9 percent of the 5G phone market, according to Counterpoint Research. As more 5G devices ship across brands and carriers throughout 2020, however, Samsung may lose the top spot.

Leading the 5G charge — Samsung offered five 5G smartphones last year: the Galaxy S10 5G, Note10 5G, and Note10+ 5G, as well as the affordable Galaxy A90 5G and the novel Galaxy Fold 5G. After having the most global options for a 5G device in 2019, the company is ringing in the new year with the world’s first 5G tablet. The Galaxy Tab S6 5G will launch in South Korea sometime this quarter.

Can it hold onto the crown? — Though its 5G market share is impressive, only 1 percent of all smartphones sold in 2019 were 5G-compatible. This year, all Android flagship phones will run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor, making 5G mandatory. Combined with rumors of at least one 5G iPhone, the competition is definitely heating up.

The forced, early adoption of 5G devices will set the tone for this year’s smartphone releases. Considering the lackluster 5G network infrastructure n the U.S., these devices are essentially an optimistic, massive push for future-proofing. While 2019 ended with about 10 million worldwide 5G connections, that number is expected to reach a billion by 2023.