Verizon stays well ahead of T-Mobile and AT&T in one key 5G metric

Verizon stays well ahead of T-Mobile and AT&T in one key 5G metric
It's no longer a big secret that Verizon comfortably leads the regional (and even global) 5G speed chart while trailing behind both T-Mobile and AT&T in terms of the actual availability of the next-gen cellular signal due to its objectively uninspired rollout strategy focused exclusively on mmWave technology so far.

But although the number of Big Red customers capable of connecting to the blazing fast 5G Ultra Wideband network undoubtedly remains small, the carrier continues to dominate the nation's sales of 5G-enabled smartphones, according to some in-depth data regularly collected by research and analytics firm M Science.

No 5G coverage? No problem

Just like last month, Verizon towers above its rivals with over 100,000 unit sales a week, which... may not sound very impressive at first. After all, it was only a few months ago that the US smartphone market was forecasted to circle the 150 million shipment mark for 2020. 

100K units feels like a drop in the ocean when you take that figure into consideration, but it's important to remember 5G networks are still young and decidedly rough around the edges stateside.

That's precisely what makes Verizon's dominant position in 5G sales remarkable, suggesting plenty of its subscribers are happy paying a premium to continue spending most of their time navigating a 4G LTE connection. All in all, the industry-leading operator is estimated to have sold around 2.2 million 5G-capable handsets since the Galaxy S10 5G was released back in the spring of 2019.

The total is good until the middle of July, by which point AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint had only racked up 629,000, 501,000, and 483,000 5G smartphone sales respectively. That means not even the combined numbers of the nation's second, third, and fourth-largest wireless service providers can come close to Verizon's tally, which kind of puts T-Mobile and AT&T's early achievements in the 5G deployment field in a different perspective.

Modest overall adoption... for the time being

For what it's worth, T-Mobile did manage to edge AT&T out in late June, slowly building a decent lead during the first couple of weeks in July. This may have something to do with the discontinuation of Sprint's mid-band 5G network and the crazy good deals offered to those who migrated to "New T-Mobile." 

Looking ahead, we're likely to see Magenta further boost its numbers thanks to even more deals for new customers switching from Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T, as well as a massive recent network upgrade.

Interestingly, AT&T was also overtaken by US Cellular in weekly 5G smartphone sales midway through July, which makes us curious to see what special Galaxy Note 20 series offers Ma Bell might be preparing.

Overall, the latest available M Science data suggests there are a little over 4 million 5G smartphone owners in the US, representing around 1.2 percent of the nation's population. That's obviously not the world's fastest adoption rate, with roughly 7 million people in Samsung's homeland of South Korea, equating to no less than 13 percent of the population, already rocking (and actually taking advantage) of a 5G-enabled mobile device.

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And then there's China, where 4.7 percent of the population, or a whopping 66 million people, are currently estimated to be in possession of a 5G smartphone, with another 100 million+ wireless subscribers expected to join the party by the end of this year alone.

Of course, just like the Chinese numbers, US 5G handset sales are expected to thrive after Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 12 family launch, although it's hard to say for the time being what kind of regional growth to look forward to. Could Verizon jump to 200,000 weekly sales? 300,000? 500,000? Only time will tell.

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