Smartphone sales in Australia are forecast to grow 16.2% in 2021 to 9.1 million units, according to the latest data from research company Gartner, with analysts predicting smartphone sales in 2021 to bounce back close to 2019 levels. This follows a 10.5% decline in 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19 on the industry.

The growing availability of 5G networks, coupled with a higher variety of 5G smartphones starting at $200 will steer demand in mature markets like Australia. Gartner forecasts sales of 5G smartphones will total 539 million units worldwide in 2021, representing 35% of total smartphone sales. 

Of smartphones sold in Australia in 2021, 55% are expected to be 5G handsets, up from 23% in 2020.

The combination of delayed smartphone replacements and the availability of lower end 5G smartphones are likely to increase smartphone sales in 2021, according to Gartner research director, Anshul Gupta.

“5G is now a standard feature in premium smartphones, especially in the US, China, Japan and South Korea,” he said.

“Driven by lower-cost models, adoption is particularly aggressive in China, where 5G smartphone share is on pace to reach 59.5% in 2021. In addition, lower end 5G smartphones, which are becoming more prevalent outside China, are poised to drive more momentum for 5G smartphones in 2021 across all regions,” he said.

However, while China pushes forward on 6G, should Australia have 6G on its radar?

According to SpinTel CEO, Liam Bal while 6G is still at the beginning of its research phase, it was important to get involved now to understand where the technology is heading.

“I wouldn’t say 6G is the catalyst for a ‘technology war,’ but technology is bringing us all closer together at an unpreceded rate,” he told Appliance Retailer. “The ability for us as a global community to cooperate together and set aside our differences will be a significant deciding factor.”

Bal said Smart Data Mode, which is a new feature in Apple’s latest iPhone, will drop from 5G to 4G in certain scenarios. “This gets the ‘thumbs up’ from me because 5G can put more pressure on your battery life so why use 5G in scenarios where its use does not increase the user experience. For example, regular application or software updates are done in the background or when streaming music,” he said.

The Australian-based telecom company, which was established in 1996, provides residential broadband, 4G connectivity and home phone packages.