The remarkable take rate in Korea and China is invalidating almost all projections of 5G subscriptions. The 5G promotion has consumers wanting to buy, buy, buy. Huawei Mate 20 5G is selling for only US$30 more than the 4G model. At that price, who would want to buy a 4G phone that could be obsolete in a year or two? In the first two weeks of sale, over a million Chinese bought Huawei's 5G phone.
One of the best analyst group on earth currently expects China to have 31 million subs in 2020. Two million+ Chinese are signing up in August 2019, a pace almost sure to increase. It's almost certain that China in 2020 will have more than that group's 73 million worldwide estimate. Korea is at 2 million after four months. KT is confident of 5 million Koreans taking 5G in 2019 from the three carriers. It estimates 30% of the country will switch to 5G by the end of 2020, about 15 million phones.
The new data is forcing everyone to rethink. If the Americans and Europeans switched to 5G in 2020 at even a quarter of the Korean expectation, that would be over 40 million.
Prices of 5G phones are plummetting in China. As I write, Oppo is selling a premium 5G phone for $580. Vivo is about to announce an even lower price. Nine phone makers are in active production and competition is becoming intense in Asia. It only costs about a dollar to airfreight a phone to Europe. The low prices are likely to spread and drive sales.
China Mobile and others say 5G phone prices will fall to under $300 in 2020.