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Despite Mobile Data Surging, 5G Uptake Revised Down 50%

Since the COVID-19 lockdown has been under way, mobile data usage has surged, with technology analyst firm Telsyte estimating it could grow by more than 30% over 2020, against growth of 13% in 2019.

Monthly mobile data is expected to average 8.4GB in 2020.

Even though Australia is consuming more data than before, and interest in 5G smartphones is there, Telsyte is also predicting that the slowing economy will drive consumers towards more high-value phones.

Alcatel has been quick to jump on this market. In late March the brand rolled out a new online store in Australia that sells smartphones for under $200.

This trend may see consumers wait for more affordable 5G handsets, which in turn will impact the uptake of 5G services.

Just last week TCL unveiled its range of ‘affordable yet premium’ smartphones, which included a 5G model – the TCL 10 5G.

As a result, Telsyte has revised its forecast for the number of 5G users in 2020 down by more than 50%, to 2.4 million users by year end. As of the end of 2019 there were less than 150,000 5G mobile services in operation, according to Telsyte estimates.

Even though mobile data is expanding substantially, Telsyte estimates that market challenges – such as a slowdown in new services in operation, lower average revenue per user and the inevitable reduction in international roaming revenue – could lead to annual mobile services revenue declining by 10% in 2020. This would follow revenue falling by 4.1% in 2019 to $13.3 billion.

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