iPhone 13 to Help Apple Grab One-Third of 2021 5G Shipments

Apple’s iPhone 12 and upcoming 13 series devices are set to spike in the last quarter of 2021 5G shipments to nearly 200m units, according to Counterpoint Research. It will also help grow total shipments this year to 605 million.

Last year, Apple’s iPhone 12 accounted for 24% of all 5G smartphone shipments globally, despite a late launch in October. This year, with an earlier launch for the iPhone 13 and continued strong appetite for iOS, Counterpoint sees Apple taking 33% of all global 5G shipments.

The US will again be the biggest shipment driver globally, and Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director for North America, believes “even without any ‘must-have’ specs, there will be tremendous appetite for upgrading because the iOS base is old in the US. Holding periods are nearing four years. iOS faithful are ready for new devices.”

Changes to the North American carrier landscape will also provide a boost to 5G, and especially Apple. “T-Mobile has a 5G lead with its mid-band (2.5GHz) rollout and it will be aggressive in order to gain as many iOS subscribers as possible before Verizon and AT&T’s mid-band (3.5GHz) rollouts. The latter remains very aggressive upgrading both the base and switchers with aggressive promotions, and Verizon will need to keep pace to avoid missing out on premium 5G subscribers. The promotions in Q4 will be at very high levels, thus helping Apple,” added Fieldhack.

“Combine all of the above with a nice pricing surprise like we saw last year, and it’s possible Apple could hit a significant milestone in terms of US installed base, where Android has been bleeding share to iOS, which now sits at around 44%. A strong holiday season, some economic recovery, further COVID easing and continued privacy and services push from Cupertino could certainly be enough to nudge the balance in Apple’s favor,” concluded Fieldhack.

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