5G and the Huawei ban won’t save the iPhone 11 – the stats prove it

The fabled iPhone 11 will have a tough job turning around an ongoing slump in Apple phone sales, according to the latest stats from IDC (International Data Corporation).

IDC issued the data in its latest Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, which shows that shipments of Apple iPhones have dropped by 22.7% year-on-year in Western, Central, and Eastern Europe.

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The figure put Apple firmly in third place, with a 14.7% stake in the overall phone market. Samsung took the top spot, controlling 29.4% of the market, despite a 6.8% drop in shipments. Huawei came in second with an impressive 25.3% stake.

The research suggests the market will not pick up with the advent of 5G, as many phone makers had hoped. 5G is a next-generation technology that launched in select parts of the UK, including London, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh earlier this month.

It will sit alongside the existing 4G infrastructure and could offer users gigabit-per-second speeds that can download entire TV series in minutes and stream triple-A games on services like Google Stadia.

According to IDC’s figures, less than 5% of phones will be 5G-capable this year despite the release of key handsets, such as the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G and Galaxy S10 5G. 5G phone adoption will still be below 30% in 2023, according to the report.

Program director at IDC EMEA, Simon Baker, highlighted the recent US-ban against Huawei as another key issue facing the smartphone industry.

“Looking ahead, it is no longer possible to see clear trends as before. The blacklisting of Huawei in the US on May 16 is creating so many unknowns, and uncertainty is the new keyword in the industry as global geopolitics — unconnected directly with Europe or EMEA — becomes the single most important factor in how the market will develop over the rest of the year,” he said.

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In May, the US White House issued an executive order that could force numerous tech companies, like Google and ARM, to cut ties with Huawei. This means future Huawei phones may not receive an Android license from Google – a move that would cut them off from key services, apps and software updates.

The news follows separate research by competing analyst house Kantar that similarly reported detecting a marked drop in iPhone sales. The research suggested this is largely due to the iPhones’ high pricing. It highlighted the hotly rumoured iPhone XR 2 as a key release that could help reverse the trend.

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