The 5G market in the United States is still in its early phases, but a new report says that when it comes to selling phones with that capability, one carrier is off to a significant lead.
According to new numbers this week from M Science, as cited by Light Reading, of the 4.1 million 5G phones sold as of mid-July, Verizon had sold 2.2 million, or 5.4 percent. AT&T was second with 629,000, T-Mobile was third with 501,000 and Sprint fourth with 483,000. With T-Mobile having purchased Sprint in a deal that closed in the spring, the two carriers together would combine for second place.
Light Reading attributed Verizon’s success to having begun selling 5G phones earlier than its competitors, while also having the most customers.
The report added that only about 1.2 percent of the U.S. population is using 5G phones, compared to 4.7 percent of the population in China.
Samsung, however, has been the dominant manufacturer in 5G smartphones and was one of the first to get started. Strategy Analytics reported in May that the top 5G phone in the first quarter in the U.S. market was the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G, with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G coming in second and the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G third, with the three combining for 94 percent of the total market.
Verizon and Lenovo also released the first 5G laptop earlier this summer.
The 5G market is expected to get a massive boost later this year, when Apple is expected to unveil its first 5G iPhones. The latest analyst reports state that all four of Apple’s new iPhones this year will offer 5G capability.
There are two different types of 5G, sub-6GHz (sometimes called “sub-6”) and millimeter-wave (“mmWave”). AT&T and T-Mobile’s 5G networks are based on the sub-6 standard, while Verizon’s is mostly mmWave-based. Reports from the supply chain have differed on which iPhones from this year’s line will offer which versions of 5G, or possibly both.
The rise of 5G has also given rise to a series of baseless conspiracy theories, including that 5G is responsible for the spread of coronavirus. There have even been reports, both in Europe and in Canada, of conspirators actually vandalizing or destroying cell towers and other 5G infrastructure. There have not, however, been any reports of such vandalism taking place in the United States.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.