Huawei and Italy smartphone sales most heavily hit by COVID-19

The latest numbers from analyst firm Counterpoint reveal the European smartphone market shrank by 7% in Q1 2020, but there was considerable variation between vendors and countries.

Huawei took by far the biggest kicking among the top vendors, but that was probably more due to US sanctions, especially those restricting access to Android. Ironically other Chinese vendors, especially Xiaomi, were the major beneficiaries of Huawei’s struggles.

“Huawei declined a sharp 43% YoY for the quarter as the US trade sanctions continue to bite,” said Abhilash Kumar of Counterpoint. “Xiaomi has been the biggest beneficiary from Huawei’s decline as it grew 145% YoY capturing 11% share in the quarter.”

By far the most heavily hit among the European countries that Counterpoint tracks was Italy, which saw its smartphone market shrink by 21% year-on-year. Italy was the first European country to be heavily hit by the virus and consequently imposed a strict lockdown. The UK didn’t start locking down until the end of Q1 and Russia was hit even later, so it will be interesting to see how this data looks for Q2.

“Q1 is seasonally weak, but the coronavirus outbreak amplified this,” said Peter Richardson of Counterpoint. “The smartphone market decline was primarily due to COVID-19 outbreak across the region in the second half of the quarter. The biggest five markets in Europe entered lockdowns of varying severity at different points in March. Consequently, most of the offline stores were closed, though online remained open throughout. Also, the economic impact of the pandemic has led to lengthening replacement cycles as consumers withhold making discretionary purchases.”

Gartner: Smartphone shipments nose-dived 20% during Q1

Smartphone shipments have been slashed across the industry during the first three months of 2020, though Xiaomi managed to post some year-on-year growth.

It might have only been marginal, a far shot from what the management team would have expected as this point last year, but a 1.4% year-on-year increase for Xiaomi shipments was as good as it got for the worlds’ leading smartphone manufacturers.

“The coronavirus pandemic caused the global smartphone market to experience its worst decline ever,” said Anshul Gupta of Gartner. “Most of the leading Chinese manufacturers and Apple were severely impacted by the temporary closures of their factories in China and reduced consumer spending due to the global shelter-in-place.”

Manufacturer Market share Year-on-year shipments
Samsung 18.5% -22.7%
Huawei 14.2% -27.3%
Apple 13.7% -8.2%
Xiaomi 9.3% 1.4%
OPPO 8% -24.2%
Others 36.3% -24.2%

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of this report from Gartner is the anticipation of the next one. Let’s not forget, the vast majority of societal lockdown procedures started during the latter stages of Q1 and continued through the majority of Q2. With economies beginning to reopen, consumer confidence is likely to be very low, resulting in delays to big ticket purchases. The smartphone slowdown is highly likely to extend throughout Q2, possibly pushing into the next quarter.

As one would expect, the fortunes of the different players are quite varied.

“Huawei will have a challenging year,” Gupta said. “It has developed the Huawei Mobile Service (HMS) ecosystem, but with the lack of popular Google apps and Google Play store, Huawei is unlikely to attract new smartphone buyers in international markets.”

For Huawei, trust and credibility are big factors. Yes, it has a solid reputation for manufacturing smartphones, but hardware is very different to software. It has an uphill battle to convince customers, both old and new, that its devices will deliver the desired experience without the Android ecosystem to underpin it.

Apple on the other hand, has a lot to be excited about.

In September (or October, if you believe the rumours), the iGiant will unveil its own attempt to crack the 5G market. This is a moment many analysts have been looking forward to, as few companies have the power to sway the opinions of the masses like Apple does. This launch could push 5G into the mainstream markets, such is the loyalty of Apple customers.

OPPO is an interesting company as it has been credited as one of the better performers when it comes to offline distribution and sales, though that was obviously severely distributed by COVID-19. This is a wake-up call, with the team needing to reinforce its online presence to ensure greater resiliency.

2020 is going to be a very tough year for the smartphone manufacturers and any company where products or services would be considered an expensive luxury. The damage inflicted to the industry during this pandemic will not be limited to Q1, though recovery could certainly be varied.

Apple has a lot to look forward to, though September might not come soon enough, as perhaps a major event is what the industry needs. Something to inspire the consumer and reinvigorate enthusiasm in technology purchases while pushing 5G into the mainstream market. Let’s hope sluggish sales trends do not drag through to September, but it is a very realistic possibility.

Apple and Google release jointly developed exposure notification API

Just over a month after they started working on it, Apple and Google have made their COVID-fighting framework available to public health authorities.

The key to using smartphones for exposure notification and contract tracing is giving them the ability to constantly sense each other. This is best done through Bluetooth LE, but both iOS and Android prevent apps from using Bluetooth unless they’re active, so a special workaround is required. That has been built into this framework, but is only available to apps that use it.

“Starting today, our exposure notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android,” said a joint statement from the companies. “What we’ve built is not an app—rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install. Our technology is designed to make these apps work better.

“Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app. User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps.”

The Verge reports that three US states (the response is much more decentralised over there) are already working on apps that use the framework. That piece also contains some handy explanations and links about the underlying tech and privacy implications. Apparently a total of 22 countries have received access to the API.

Turning this around so quickly is a good effort from Apple and Google, as was their quick decision to put business rivalry to the side for the time being, but then this sort of thing is one of their core competencies. The same can’t be said for health agencies, which is why the hubris of those, like the NHS in the UK, is so frustrating. They should stop trying to reinvent the wheel and go with the best technology available, which is almost certainly this.

Xiaomi grows in Q1, but Q2 is where the danger lies

Xiaomi has reported revenue and profit rises through to March 31, but let’s not forget this does not include the period of extensive lockdowns in European markets.

With total revenues coming in at roughly $7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 13.6%, profits grew by 10.6% to approximately $320 million. Considering the backdrop of COVID-19, this would be considered a healthy performance through the three-months, though investors will have to brace for the impact of societal lockdowns during April and May in Western Europe, a growth region to Xiaomi.

“Although the industry is facing severe challenges, the Group still experienced growth in all segments despite the market downturn, which fully reflects the flexibility, resilience and competitiveness of Xiaomi’s business model,” said Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun.

“We believe a crisis is the ultimate litmus test for a company’s value, business model and growth potential. As the impact of the pandemic starts to ease, we will continue to focus on the ‘5G + AIoT’ strategy and strengthen our scale of investment, in order to let everyone in the world enjoy a better life through innovative technology.”

Jun might be positive, but it is dampened success in comparison to previous quarters,

Xiaomi year-on-year financial performance for 2019
Period Revenue Profit
Q4 +27.1% +34.8%
Q3 +5.5% +20.3%
Q2 +20.2% +49.8%
Q1 +27.2% +34.7%

Source: Xiaomi corporate blog, Mi Global

Although there was a dip in performance during the third quarter, which could be attributed to a slowdown in smartphone shipments in its Chinese domestic market, Xiaomi is a company which has been on the rise. Success has been in the international markets primarily, and the executive team will hope the dampened success will only be temporary as the world begins to open-up again.

The issue is April and May, which will show up in the next quarterly earnings report. International revenues have been a significant driver for Xiaomi in recent years, and this quarter saw 50% of revenues attributed to the overseas markets.

Over the first three months of 2020, IDC attributed 31.2% of shipments in India to Xiaomi, while Canalys estimated Xiaomi’s smartphone shipments grew by 58.3% year-on-year in the European markets, accounting for 14.3% market share. In Italy, France and Germany it ranked it the top four smartphone manufacturers, while it claims to be number one in Spain. The growth numbers in LATAM, the Middle East and Africa were even more impressive.

Unfortunately, the majority of markets where Xiaomi is seeing success are the ones where lockdown has been severely impacting smartphone sales. In Europe, IDC said smartphone revenues could be down 10% optimistically, but worst case scenario could see sales slashed by as much as 47%.

Xiaomi has estimated that as of mid-May, the weekly number of smartphone activations in the European market had returned to over 90% of the average weekly level in January. Sales are gradually beginning to recover, but they are still not at the levels which would have been expected and more than half of this quarter has already passed. It is not a good sign, but these are certainly extenuating circumstances.

Investors have not exactly been thrilled with the news either. Xiaomi share price, on the Hong Kong stock exchange, is down 2% at the time of writing having started the day with a brief surge.

The saving grace for Xiaomi is diversification, however.

One business unit is leveraging the Xiaomi brand and existing customer base to drive sales in IoT and lifestyle products segment. The IOT platform now has 252 million connected IoT devices on it (not including smartphones and laptops), while there have also been progress in selling TVs, wireless earphones, electric scooters, robot vacuums and wifi routers. The business seems to be passionately and aggressively embracing diversification.

The second important area of diversification is Xiaomi’s internet services. With revenues of $830 million, a year-on-year increase of 38.6%, the division accounts for 11.6% of total revenues, up from 10.1% in Q4 2020 and 9.9% in Q3 2020. This division is slowly becoming more prominent but most importantly, this is recurring cash, the holy grail in the digital economy.

Xiaomi is another Chinese company which has been embraced by the international markets in recent years, a critical driver of revenue growth, but this progress might prove to be the source of great pain during the second period of 2020.

Lenovo earnings reveal the damage COVID-19 can inflict

With its main smartphone manufacturing sites situated in Wuhan, Lenovo has been hit hard by COVID-19, spoiling what would have otherwise been a very productive year.

Group revenues for Lenovo were down 1% to $50.7 billion, though it should be noted that revenues were down 10% year-on-year for the final three months, the period impacted by COVID-19. Across the first three quarters of 2019/20, the business was on the up as you can see below.

Financial performance of Lenovo 2019/20 (US Dollar ($), thousands)
Period Revenue Year-on-year Profit Year-on-year
Q4 10,579 (10%) 1,861 (2%)
Q3 14,103 0.5% 2,265 10.5%
Q2 13,522 1% 2,183 22%
Q1 12,512 5% 2,048 26%

Source: Lenovo Investor Relations

With the negatives of the final three months, growth figures were less than attractive, but without the impact of COVID-19 it has been a successful 12-month period.

“Amid one of the most significant periods of global change and transformation we have ever seen, Lenovo significantly transformed its business over the past year,” said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo CEO.

“I am also unbelievably proud of how we continue to respond to the global pandemic, as both a business and a corporate citizen. While the world continues to face uncertain times, I’m confident Lenovo will leverage its operational excellence and global footprint to continue implementing our intelligent transformation strategy and fully grasp the opportunities our ‘new norm’ provides us.”

Many companies have complained about supply chain issues and disruption to manufacturing operations during this period, but few faced the same complications as Lenovo.

2019/20 had been targeted as a breakthrough year for Lenovo in the mobile segment. During the third quarter results, Lenovo’s mobile business unit boasted of five consecutive period of profitability growth, as well as outperforming the LATAM market on smartphone shipments by 19 points. LATAM is an area Lenovo, through the Motorola brand, has been very successful.

The final quarter put an end to this successful streak as Wuhan, the starting point of the COVID-19 pandemic, is home to Lenovo’s smartphone manufacturing facilities. This was the most heavily impacted segment of the Lenovo business, however its data centre business also declined on softer demand, however PC’s outperformed the market, IOT grew significantly and smart infrastructure grew 37% year-on-year as Network Function Virtualization started to generate revenue.


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OPPO signs up Vodafone for European expansion

Chinese smartphone vendor has partnered with pan-European telco Vodafone to offer its full-range of 4G and 5G devices.

As part of the agreement, Vodafone will become an OPPO partner in Germany, UK, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and the Netherlands. The Chinese smartphone brand has been very successful in its domestic market, though international ventures have been slightly more muted.

Leaning on Vodafone’s credibility and operations is one way to add some momentum to global ambitions, though as this is not an exclusive deal, OPPO is also free to work with rivals. The Chinese smartphone vendor could be eating its cake and having it too.

“OPPO is confident that our industry-leading products and technologies will enable Vodafone to win new opportunities in the 5G era,” said Alen Wu, OPPO’s President of Global Sales.

“Vodafone’s vision that ‘we connect for a better future’ aligns with OPPO’s value of ‘Benfen’ – to do the right thing and provide real value to customers. OPPO looks forward to solidifying a long-term win-win relationship with Vodafone to create a better future for our customers in the 5G era.”

Although there might be telcos around Europe which offer a market-leading position in their home markets, few can offer the breadth and depth Vodafone can offer.

Vodafone European presence
Market Subscribers (thousands) Market share
Germany 30,052 22.2%
Italy 19,245 19.8%
UK 18,042 18.5%
Spain 13,843 16.4%
Ireland 2,004 35.1%
Portugal 4,682 26.5%
Romania 9,296 34.7%
Greece 4,476 26.6%
Czech Republic 3,990 24.9%
Hungary 3,127 26.8%
Albania 1,618 42.3%
Malta 302 49.1%

Sources: Vodafone Investor Relations and Omdia World Information Series

This is the power of Vodafone. It might not be the most successful companies in the individual markets, but the sheer size of its European footprint is unrivalled. Let’s not forget what the objective of OPPO will be; exposure far and wide. Vodafone offers credibility and sales channels in numerous markets, though only a few will be included in the deal to start.

While Huawei has stolen headlines (positive and negative) over the last few years, it is always worth remembering there are other smartphone brands emerging from the country which are fighting for market share. Xiaomi is one which has proven successful, though OPPO, VIVO and OnePlus are just a few more which could make a splash in foreign waters.

According to estimates from IDC, OPPO has been successful in the international markets but growth has somewhat stagnated in recent quarters. During the final quarter of 2019, shipments accounted for 8.3% market share, though OPPO has fluctuated between 7.4% and 8.9% for the last few years. This is a successful business, but a catalyst might be needed to take it up a notch.

China 5G interest surges 17% smartphone growth in April

The rest of the world might be working its way through a smartphone slump, but 5G is providing the catalyst for growth in the Chinese markets.

With the high street closed and the consumer tightening purse strings in preparation for what is increasingly promising to be a painful recession, smartphone shipments have been hit hard over the last few weeks, however, China seems to have turned a corner.

According to new statistics from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), smartphone shipments have bounced back very enthusiastically in April, with 5G-compatible devices taking a very respectable share of the bounty. Year-on-year, mobile phone shipments were up 14.2% to 41.7 million across the month.

40.8 million smartphones were shipped during the period, accounting for 97.7% of total shipments, with more than 16.4 million being 5G-compatible devices. It almost seems like an unbelievable number, but 39.3% of the total smartphone shipments in China across April were 5G devices.

It has long been suspected that the Chinese assault on the 5G market would be a slow burner with sustained aggression. We have already seen China embrace 5G, China Mobile claimed to have 15.4 million 5G subscriptions during its last earnings call, and this enthusiasm will surely be sustained as the world returns to normal.

The question which remains is how much normality is there inside China currently? There have been murmurs of a potential second wave in the country, and the CAICT has already commented on the impact to 5G supply chains during the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Of course, it is also worth highlighting that this might only be the early adopter wave of purchasing in the country. The numbers seem incredibly large, but you always have to remember the total population of China is roughly 1.41 billion. 16.4 million is only a scratch on the potential of 5G shipments in the country.

If this is the early adopter phase of 5G smartphones, the question is how long do we have to wait for the mass market to catch on? Some might have assumed it would have been in the months following, but with 5G set back elsewhere around the world, it might be a bit more staggered.

Adoption by the mass market is more than simply having devices available. You have to have affordable devices, a market for second-hand devices, a plethora of applications to validate purchases, data tariffs which are cheap enough to ensure the full power of 5G is utilised and also a stable economy for consumer confidence to be high enough.

The global economy is having a bit of a wobble right now which is likely to have a staggering impact on the rollout of 5G around the world. There are a lot of moving parts, all of which have to function together. 16.4 million might sound like a very high number of 5G smartphone shipments, but it is probably still the early adopter wave.

UK’s COVID-19 contact tracing app – will it work?

The UK has officially launched its NHS contact tracing app, but there remain many questions about how effective it can be.

The app is called ‘NHS COVID-19’ and is currently being trialled in the Isle of White, presumably to limit its spread, should it turn out to be rubbish. You can read the details of it as explained by the National Cyber Security Centre here. In short, it’s designed to do pretty much the same as all other contact tracing apps – to notify anyone who has been in close physical contact with anyone who is suspected of having COVID-19.

Also in common with other such initiatives around the world, the key point of contention around NHS COVID-19 is whether it uses a centralised or decentralised approach to collecting data. The decentralised method is favoured by Google and Apple, who own the platforms on which nearly all smartphones run and thus have ultimate control over what apps on them can or can’t do.

Under the decentralised system no significant data ever leaves the individual’s phone. All that happens that, when someone tells their version of the app they think they might have the ‘rona, it notifies the apps installed in phones of anyone who has been near them recently. This is all done by Bluetooth LE running in the background and no identity or location data is involved.

NHS COVID-19, however, uses the centralised model. In this case, when someone notifies the app of their possible blight, it passes that bulletin on to an NHS server, which then performs the function of notifying other at-risk punters. The advantage of this approach is that it will also enable a bunch of other clinical and epidemiological activities such as inviting the person to be tested and mapping disease hot-spots.

The centralised model obviously comes with a lot more data privacy and even civil liberty concerns, which is why the UK government has gone to considerable lengths to demonstrate security, transparency and accountability. Ian Levy, the Technical Director at the NCSC has blogged extensively on the matter and you can even read the technical paper. The Information Commissioner’s Office has also blogged and published a formal opinion.

As you would expect, Parliament is having a good look at this app too. Matthew Gould, CEO of NHSX, which is the digital transformation bit of the NHS, got a socially-distanced grilling from the Joint Committee on Human Rights yesterday and the matter of data protection was very much as the forefront.

“The app doesn’t at this stage know who you are, it doesn’t know who the people are you’ve been near, it doesn’t know where you’ve been,” said Gould, with the ‘at this stage’ bit somewhat undermining his attempt to reassure. “We’ve said we will open-source the code, we will publish the privacy assessment and security models.”

That was around 15:05 of the recording of the briefing. At 15:19 Gould is asked about the longer-term use of data shared with the NHS. “If data has been shared by choice with the NHS then it can be retained for research in the public interest,” he said. It remains to be seen how compliant with GDPR and general data best-practice that will be. Furthermore his answer serves as a great illustration of why people may be reluctant to allow their data to leave the confines of their phone.

Which brings us to a major flaw in the decision to go for the centralised approach – trust. The majority of the population will need to download and use the app for it to be effective, so anything that makes them think twice about doing so is surely a major setback. It seems clear the NHS is doing everything by the book and subjecting itself to maximum public scrutiny, but by going down this path is has built an unnecessary element of doubt into the whole project.

The biggest problem of all, however, is likely to stem from the fact that Google and Apple don’t support NHS COVID-19. That doesn’t mean they’re going to block it from their app stores, but it does mean it presumably won’t have access to the Google/Apple Exposure Notification API. The single biggest challenge that presents is how to keep the Bluetooth LE functionality active when the app isn’t on or in the foreground of the phone.

Coincidentally the two tech giants released more details of their API today, with Tech Crunch doing a good job of summarising the rules determining its use. By adopting the strategy it has, it seems the NHS has ensured we won’t get a COVID-19 contact tracing app that uses the Google/Apple API, which is a shame.

NHSX and the government are keen to stress that NHS COVID-19 is not, by itself, a silver bullet, and will form part of a broader set of measures designed to keep a lid on the pandemic once we’re allowed out of the house again. While we should stress that we’re not in any way advising against people doing their bit by downloading and using this app – we certainly will – its usefulness seems very likely to be seriously diminished by the decision to adopt the centralised approach.

Xiaomi denies snooping claims

It was of course never going to admit it has been spying on customers, so Xiaomi has hit back at a Forbes article which suggests the smartphone manufacturer is eavesdropping.

The report, which was written in conjunction with security researcher Gabi Cirlig, suggests Xiaomi is collecting data on internet browsing and smartphone usage, even when incognito mode is selected, or privacy-focused browsers such as DuckDuckGo are used. The data could be traced back to servers located in Russia and Singapore, though the domain names have been registered in China.

Although Xiaomi and other smartphone manufacturers collect data on how smartphones are being used to improve performance and inform future design decisions, the report suggests the firm goes way beyond what would be deemed acceptable.

All data should be anonymised and aggregated, to protect user privacy, while explicit consent should be sought from the user before any data is collected. It is claimed Xiaomi has not held up its own end of the bargain, though collecting data from incognito mode or privacy-focused browsers breaks numerous privacy principles and rules.

The security claims paint a gloomy picture of deception, a story which sounds very familiar; US politicians have continuously stated Chinese firms should not be trusted.

Xiaomi’s response to the allegations is as what many would expect.

“At Xiaomi, our users’ privacy and security are of top priority,” a statement reads. “We strictly follow and are fully compliant with user privacy protection laws and regulations in the countries and regions we operate in.”

The firm has stated it only collects data when permissions have been granted and it complies with all local data protection and privacy laws. It has released several updates to close any loopholes or oversights which might compromise security or privacy.

In short, Xiaomi contests all allegations which have been made in the article.

It is hardly unusual for Chinese companies to be at the centre of a privacy scandal, but Xiaomi has managed to avoid attention from US authorities to date, something it will surely like to continue.

If there was a good time for COVID-19 to impact Apple, it is now

Hardware sales for Apple have dipped over the last three months, but with services gaining weight and the firm still in the building stages for 5G, few seem to be worried.

Apple is in an interesting position currently. Thanks to the product roadmap, if there was a good time for sales to plunge due to extenuating circumstances, now is it.

While the team has recently announced the launch of a new device, the 2020 iPhone SE, this is only a taster of what is to come. The latter part of this year and the early part of 2021 is where the iGiant should make serious waves as it launches its own assault on the 5G era.

“Despite COVID-19’s unprecedented global impact, we’re proud to report that Apple grew for the quarter, driven by an all-time record in Services and a quarterly record for Wearables,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “In this difficult environment, our users are depending on Apple products in renewed ways to stay connected, informed, creative, and productive.”

Apple financial results for period ending March 31 (USD ($), millions)
  Total Year-on-year
Total revenues 58,313 +0.5%
Cost of sales 35,943 -0.7%
Net income 11,249 -2.7%

Source: Apple Investor Relations

Although iPhone sales have been hit by the pandemic, revenues are down by roughly 6.8%, as have Mac and iPad sales, decreasing 2.9% and 10.4% respectively, the wearables, home entertainment and services business units are on the up. The gains have compensated for the losses.

Apple released the figures following the close of financial markets, though share price was down by 3% in overnight trading.

Investors might not be thrilled by these figures, which were less than Wall Street expectations, there is perhaps evidence the diversification efforts of Apple are paying off.

Apple revenues split by product and service segments
Period iPhone Mac iPad Other Services
Q2 2020 49.6% 9.1% 7.5% 10.7% 22.9%
Q1 2020 60.9% 7.8% 6.5% 10.9% 13.8%
Q4 2019 52.1% 10.9% 7.2% 10.2% 19.5%
Q3 2019 48.3% 10.8% 9.3% 10.2% 19.2%
Q2 2019 53.4% 9.5% 8.4% 8.8% 19.7%
Q1 2019 61.6% 8.8% 7.9% 8.7% 12.9%

*Other = Wearables, Home and Accessories

With iPhone sales in particular being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, diversification efforts from Apple put the company in a promising position. Wearables, home entertainment and services in particular are making Apple seem like a much more well-rounded and sustainable business.

This is not a one-off either, diversification is key to navigating difficult periods. During this current crisis, Google and Microsoft are two companies who are performing admirably, another two example of organisations who have driven towards diversification from core competencies.

Perhaps the most important note to take away from this earnings call is that if Apple’s ability to make money was impacted by external influences, now is the best time for it to happen.

As with every other premium smartphone manufacturer, ambitions have been cast towards the up-coming 5G era, as well as the device refreshment cycle which is likely to accompany. 2020 was supposed to be the year of 5G, though perhaps the slowing of base station deployment has postponed this slightly.

Apple was never going to launch a 5G device in the first half of the year, it traditionally saves its flagship launch for the autumn, as consumers are preparing for Christmas purchases. There are of course reports that the launch of the Apple device in a few months will be delayed, but as long as it is before Christmas few executives will be worried. Interestingly enough, anticipation will also be extended to the telco industry.

The launch of the next Apple device could be a catalyst to launch 5G into the mainstream. Such is the power of Apple and its brand, 5G could be the new norm once the Cupertino-based tech giant makes a powerful statement. This could be a major influence in the migration of customers from 4G to 5G tariffs.

Apple is a very powerful company, and while sales have been impacted by COVID-19, its diversification efforts are compensating, and its major marketing activities are being reserved. As long as lockdowns have been eased by the end of the year, few Apple executives will be bothered by the financial impact of the coronavirus.