Budget 5G smartphones are the new battlegrounds for original equipment manufacturers like Samsung, OnePlus and Motorola in the US, according to Counterpoint Research. Leading the way is T-Mobile. The company is said to be pushing the envelope when it comes to budget 5G smartphones ($100-$250 band) in the US. While both AT&T and Verizon are focused on upgrading their base with the latest premium 5G offerings, T-Mobile is pushing the pedal with 5G offering.
“5G for All” campaign gets going
T-Mobile has started “5G for All” campaign as it looks to gain market share. The company has promised to give free 5G smartphones to those looking to upgrade. T-Mobile initially started out with the Samsung A32 5G and more recently changed the offer to the new OnePlus N200 5G, a $216 smartphone. OnePlus N200 5G is the first sub-$250 5G smartphone available on a carrier network.
The company more recently announced another sub-$250 5G device in the form of the REVVL V+ 5G. The device, which will sell for $199.99 on both Metro and T-Mobile, is the fifth iteration of the REVVL smartphone line-up. Previously, TCL and Motorola manufactured REVVL phones, however, this time Wingtech will make the newest device for T-Mobile. Overall, when one looks at 5G smartphones under $300, the carrier now has five devices available at full retail, compared to only one each at AT&T (Samsung A32 5G) and Verizon (Motorola One 5G UW Ace).
What makes affordable 5G smartphones a huge opportunity?
In 2020, budget smartphone sales in the US reportedly made up around 20% of total sales. What makes it crucial for companies like OnePlus is that it is not a price band that is solely dominated by Apple and Samsung, like in the premium $600 and above segments. Instead, OEMs such as Motorola, TCL/Alcatel and about-to-be-shut LG compete against Samsung for market share in this band. With LG quitting the race, there’s a sizeable market share up for grabs. This presents a big opportunity for OEMs to gain both market share and mindshare, especially related to 5G and its capabilities.
5G smartphones are becoming cheaper thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 480 5G and MediaTek’s Dimensity 700 5G SoCs. Both prepaid and postpaid service providers are eager to have more 5G smartphones in their portfolios, especially since they want customers to upgrade their plans to 5G. With more devices launching in H2 2021, we expect to see increased competition for 5G budget smartphone market share.