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The problem for mobile phone manufacturers in 2019: 5G is coming, follow or not?

via:博客园     time:2019/1/4 14:32:20     readed:442


Wen/Wang Xinxi

Source: Hotspot Review (ID: redianweiping)

In the mobile phone industry, 5G's secret war has been raging under the water. Apart from Apple, mobile phone manufacturers such as Huami OV and Lenovo ZTE HTC have all displayed 5G strategies and signboards.

At the 2008 Qualcomm China Technology and Cooperation Summit, the mobile phone manufacturers joining Qualcomm include Lenovo, OPPO, vivo, millet, ZTE and Wentai Technology. Both OPPO and vivo plan to launch 5G mobile phones in 2020. According to Xu Zhijun, the former Chairman-in-Office of Huawei, Huawei expects to release 5G mobile phones in the second half of 2019. HTC has also made a bold statement that it will launch 5G mobile phones in 2019. Millet Lenovo is already competing for the right to start 5G mobile phones.

The 5G network will be built in 2019 and put into commercial use in June 2019. Relatively speaking, Huawei is a relatively early entrant, of course, this is not without reason, because the concept of 5G is almost tied to Huawei brand.

Huawei has launched a full set of 5G commercial network solutions based on Non-Independent Networking (NSA). In March next year, it will build 5G commercial systems based on Independent Networking (SA). At present, it has won 25 5G commercial contracts. ZTE Huawei is the only mobile phone manufacturer in China that can penetrate into standard-setting and network construction.

5G is the future, but it can't replace 4G for the time being.

5G is the future, there is no doubt, but the future is not so near. It is said that 5G infrastructure is not ready for most markets in the United States in 2019. In China, all three operators have obtained the license to use the test frequency of 5G medium and low frequency band nationwide, and the current standard of 5gR15 partial frequency band has been postponed.

The 5G frequency band will be much more than 4 GHz. The spectrum is the basic resource for 5G development, but the spectrum resources are very tight. According to the forecast of ITU, the frequency demand of international mobile communication will reach 1340 MHz-1960 MHz in 2020, and the frequency demand of China mobile communication will be 1490 MHz-1810 MHz, and the spectrum gap will reach 1000 MHz.

Jin Haitao, chairman of Qianhai Ark Asset Management Co., Ltd. and chief executive partner of Qianhai Mother's Fund, pointed out that in the future, 5G base stations will be twice as large as 4G base stations, and the investment requirement of 5G network construction for operators will be at least 1.5 times that of 4G.


Although the three operators are actively deploying 5G network construction, the completion of networking is a huge system engineering.

Secondly, at the technical level, the technologies of millimeter wave, small base station, Massive MIMO, full duplex and beam forming in 5G era are still immature.

On the other hand, 5G chips need to have 5G chips, but there is no manufacturer releasing 5G chips yet. The construction of 5G network can not be achieved overnight. 3G mobile phones entered the market in 2008, and 4G mobile phones entered the market in 2014. It took six years for China to transition from 3G to 4G era.

And 5G network also needs licenses, so far domestic licenses have not yet been issued. In the 5G commercial phase, it will only cover a few hot spots in big cities. The replacement of 5G to 4G will take a long time to reach the mature stage of technology and seamless coverage of 5G network. Deloitte forecasts that only 26 operators worldwide will launch 5G networks by 2020.

In addition, in the initial stage, due to the high price of 5G mobile phones, the packaging concept is more in the early stage. The experience of 5G mobile phones will have enough places to be optimized. The market will also face a series of problems such as additional power consumption caused by the improvement of terminal performance supporting 5G and how to realize multi-antenna design in limited space.

At the operator level, there are many factors such as base station, signal, operation, price and so on. It will take some time to fully mature and reach the signal strength and scope comparable to 4G, and to achieve a reasonable return of cost and price.

In addition, from the current market of 4G mobile phones, it is enough to give people the Internet experience. At present, there are no obvious shortcomings in both transmission speed and function experience. That is to say, although 5G can be faster, its peak theoretical transmission speed can reach tens of gigabytes per second. Due to huge throughput, low latency and other improvements of 5G, it is in the Internet of Things and other industries. Commercial value on the Internet may be greater.

But for mobile phone users, the transmission speed of tens of gigabytes per second, real-time transmission of 8K resolution 3D video, or downloading a 3D movie in six seconds seems to have nothing to do with the current core experience pain point, after all, downloading large-capacity information and files such as movies is an occasional need, not just the core needs.

In the consumer Internet market faced by 5G mobile phones, faster transmission speed is certainly better experience, but high prices may be a hindrance. After all, according to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2017, the per capita disposable income of the national residents in 2017 is 25,974 yuan, which makes it unrealistic for everyone to spend 8,000 yuan to buy a 5G mobile phone. Therefore, 5G is the future, but it can not replace 4G for the time being.

On the other hand, there should be 90% similarity between 4G and 5G mobile phones, including hardware modules (touch screen interaction, camera audio, etc.), including the use of operating system and application software will be the same.

Therefore, the hardware and appearance of the first batch of 5G mobile phones listed on the market will not be much different from that of 4G. The biggest difference lies in the communication module, namely 5G baseband chip, which is responsible for data receiving and sending. The performance of baseband chip basically determines the performance of mobile phone main processor chip. That is to say, the 5G chip can make the mobile phone achieve the highest theoretical data download speed of 10Gbps. Therefore, in addition to Huawei, in the 5G era, manufacturers can hardly get rid of the heavy dependence on Qualcomm.


Mobile phone manufacturers and operators need 5G more than users

In the past technological changes in the mobile phone industry, there have been a number of manufacturers chasing the wind, but we need to know that the area of mobile phone components and antennas of 5G mobile phones will increase, which poses a great challenge to the industrial design and product innovation of mobile phones. When the new 5G technology starts, immature performance in product innovation, power consumption and other aspects will affect user experience and reputation.

In fact, users still lack clear demand for 5G. In the replacement of 4G to 5G, it is a leap from 80 or even 85 points to 100 points. But 80 points can meet the needs of the vast majority of users. Nowadays, users do not seem to have a strong demand for the transmission speed of mobile phones.

In a short time, due to the higher price of 5G and the higher cost of service packages, there will be a lot of areas to be polished and optimized in the early stage of product experience, so it is not realistic to popularize in a short time. But in today's smartphone market, the overall environment is declining. According to IDC report, in the third quarter of 2018, global smartphone suppliers shipped 355.2 million smartphones this quarter, down 6% year-on-year. The current change tide has passed, 2019 may be a rather difficult year, the general trend is still falling.

In the final analysis, in the current environment, mobile phone manufacturers and operators need 5G more than users. In the book "Brand Relevance" by David Aker, a brand management scholar, there is a view that innovation tends to develop from gradual innovation to substantive innovation. When innovation is substantive innovation, significant product promotion will make other brands lose competitiveness in the choice of consumers.

Compared with 4G, 5G may bring about substantial innovation, which is an opportunity for domestic mobile phones to surpass. From the point of view of mobile phone manufacturers, with the increasing switching cycle, the factors that entice users to switch are becoming more and more elusive. 5G is a very attractive switching factor on the user side.

For operators, 5G high-speed network is an important time node to increase traffic charges in order to improve performance, because the redesign of traffic package charges for 5G users, as well as the performance and revenue growth brought by large bandwidth traffic consumption in the field of industrial Internet are very considerable.

Therefore, 5G involves the possibility for mobile phone manufacturers and operators to break the current interest pattern and re-cake, so although users are not in a hurry to use 5G, because the current experience of 4G is relatively perfect, mobile phone manufacturers and operators may not wait.

In this situation, manufacturers need the concept of 5G more urgently than users to drive the demand for switching machines, and also want to leave the brand impression of 5G pioneers to consumers. But from this anxious mentality, we can see that manufacturers are passively following up in front of the 5G tide.

Preemptive New Aircraft or Latent Depth Layout?

It is not necessarily possible to gain a firm foothold in the end, but more likely to become early cannon fodder.

According to the timetable, 5G mobile phone is in the experimental stage in 2019. The reason for its high price is that the hard cost of mobile phone is increasing, the cost of connecting related core components, debugging and R&D is very high. The investment of 5G R&D cost and network construction need to be allocated to the price of mobile phone to get profits and funds back and forth.

Throughout the development experience of 3G and 4G networks, when network construction produces scale effect, low-cost terminals will become the mainstream. Moreover, the 5G industry chain involves telecom operators, equipment manufacturers, chip companies and terminal companies. It needs the cooperation of the whole industry chain to promote the maturity of the whole 5G network. The popularization of 5G is limited by the layout and speed of all parties. For domestic mobile phones, it is critical to keep up with the deployment rhythm of 5G by operators.

From the perspective of the mainstream price of mobile terminals in the future, only when 5G mobile phones enter the 3000-4000 gear, that is the stage of the market booming. Therefore, for mobile phone manufacturers, the early layout should not only rush to release the first 5G mobile phone, but also focus on the trend in the next 3-5 years.

An obvious trend is that 5G will support the development of industrial Internet and enter the era of Internet of Things. When all products can be connected by 5G, mobile operating system needs to be upgraded.

Mobile phone manufacturers need to think about what revolutionary changes 5G will bring to smartphones while operators promote the maturity of technology and industry chain, whether the application innovation experience it brings will be combined with AR and VR, and what new functions and application innovation needs consumers will have under 5G network, focusing on these trends, laying out new industries such as Internet of Things, Cloud, Big Data, etc. Business, do more complete software and hardware ecological layout, is a good strategy.

There is no doubt that 5G is another new dividend between Huawei and ZTE. At present, Huawei has become the largest telecom equipment supplier in the world, and has cooperated with 42 operators to open several 5G pre-commercial networks. ZTE has applied for more than 1500 patents, and the first Pr5G products have been deployed in more than 60 networks in more than 40 countries, which indirectly gives these two major factories. Businessmen's mobile phone business brings new dividends.

In 2019, 5G will be officially built. According to the law, the existing 4G LTE will continue to evolve and become an important part of 5G platform, and these networks will continue to work after 5G commercial use. The real arrival of 5G should be after 2021, when the infrastructure of 5G network and the hardware and software devices may be almost ready.

But at present, many mobile phone manufacturers'profits and sales are declining continuously. They need new concepts to market, especially those lacking core technology. According to the 5G patent licensing rate announced earlier by Qualcomm, single-mode 5G mobile phones charge 2.275% and multi-mode 5G mobile phones pay 3.25%, which does not include the patent fees already paid to them. Therefore, mobile phone manufacturers carry Qualcomm's 5G patent licensing rate. G chips show the signs of 5G mobile phones, which will pay more high traffic tax.

But what we need to know is that Qualcomm is only a chip manufacturer, not a communication network equipment manufacturer. It can not dominate the core of the communication network. The core is the communication network equipment. Because of the competition of Huawei Samsung and other manufacturers, Apple has stopped using Qualcomm to help drive Intel to the upper position, Heise, Sequans and other manufacturers have steadily increased their layout. Qualcomm's bargaining power and monopoly position on 5G patents has no longer existed. As firm and strong as before 4G, holding Qualcomm's thighs may not be able to enjoy a dividend.

With the concept of 5G, more than 8,000 yuan a mobile phone actually killed the core of Apple's mobile phone, but in today's Apple's situation, due to blindly setting high prices for the iPhone has caused great embarrassment for Apple itself, we can know that the current user's consumption of mobile phone products has reached an unprecedented rational stage.

If we can take the lead in high frequency band technology, 5G baseband technology, 5G millimeter wave technology and other key technologies, we will be more likely to take the lead in 5G smartphone business and seize the next wave of technological trends.

But blindly rush into the layout of 5G mobile phones in the immature stage, the users who pay for them in the early stage will be very limited. Due to the technical limitations, the concept and products are not up to the standard. In fact, it is easier to self-destruct the reputation. The operation in the early stage is as fierce as a tiger, and is often harvested by a big trick from the later.

But the 5G tuyere is in front of us, and no one can be indifferent to it. Following or not, is a choice question for mobile phone manufacturers in the beginning of 2019.

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