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This report examines how 5G will change and shape the devices and services market, and what operators, device manufacturers, and content providers can do to influence this change.


  • The 5G transition could spell the end of struggling handset makers.
  • Many 5G devices will not have access to a 5G network due to rapid uptake of handset sales outside of operator sales channels.
  • AR is the key differentiated experience for 5G that shows the full capabilities of the technology.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses how 5G will impact the smartphone market
  • Evaluates the addressable market for AR-compatible 5G devices.
  • Analyzes how 5G will impact the core smartphone user experience.

Key questions answered

  • When will the key device manufacturers bring 5G to their devices?
  • Which content genres will benefit most from 5G?
  • Will VR play any role in the 5G rollout?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for service providers and platforms
  • Recommendations for content providers
  • Recommendations for device manufacturers

Few handset brands will be able to afford 5G

  • Apple will not bring 5G to iPhone before 2020
  • Struggling handset brands may fail to make the transition to 5G

Decoupling will create an underserved 5G market

  • 5G device sales will outpace 5G subscriptions
  • Operators will need to work harder on selling 5G than 4G

Media bundling will play a key role in early 5G adoption

  • Operators are already ramping up partnerships ahead of the 5G launch
  • 5G brings new opportunities for live sports

AR and VR – the two key 5G experiences

  • AR is 5G's super hero
  • VR benefits from 5G, but it is not a killer application

Operators need to plan now for how 5G will shape handset use and design

  • Everything is moving to the cloud
  • 5G is part of the puzzle for foldable phones


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author