The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting billions of lives and nearly all industries — one area in which we expect a clear delay in established timelines is the rollout of next-generation 5G wireless networks around the world. 

forecast quarterly 5g smartphone shipments 2020



Business Insider Intelligence


The virus has preempted standards meetings, occupied the attention of network operators and regulators, and disrupted global technology supply chains, and it will delay global 5G rollouts by anywhere from six months to several years as network expansions are halted and new deployments are placed on hold.

These delays will have major ramifications for companies in the smartphone space, wireless carriers, networking equipment providers, and large enterprises of all stripes. For instance, Business Insider Intelligence forecasts that 5G smartphone shipments for 2020 will now total 146 million, down from prior estimates of 200 million, with the first three quarters of the year down drastically from pre-virus estimates.

In Coronavirus And 5G Deployment Roadblocks, Business Insider Intelligence looks at how the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent fallout will slow the rollout of global 5G networks. First, we consider how the coronavirus will delay the continued development of 5G standards and the regulatory process that governs network launches. Next, we examine how supply chain strains stemming from lockdowns and quarantines will limit the availability of hardware that allows networks to broadcast their signals. We then discuss how the economic downturn caused by the virus will likely impact network operators and their ability to deploy 5G networks and bring customers on board. Finally, we look at the impact the pandemic will have on carriers’ finances.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Apple, Ericsson, Google, Huawei, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

Here are some key takeaways from the report: 

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