Consumers already knew that this was going to be a thing. With the slow and steady rollout of the 5G network, 5G-ready smartphones have followed right along—and they’re very much in the premium price point range. But according to new research from IHS Markit, even consumers’ expectations for just how expensive 5G phones would be upon their launch has been surpassed exponentially. In fact, in some cases, 5G phone prices are coming in as much as 29 times higher than what consumers had anticipated.
In the IHS Markit survey, 91 percent of consumers said that they expected to have to pay more for a 5G device compared to existing 4G LTE smartphones, with three-quarters of those respondents saying they expected prices to be roughly 10 to 25 percent higher for 5G phones.
With those responses in mind, IHS Markit took a look at the average sales price for a smartphone in 2019, which hovered around $319. So then, a 10 to 25 percent premium would add roughly $32 to $80 to the average sales price. However, the actual pricing of 5G phones has been exceptionally higher than the estimated $350 to $400 price range. Looking at Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G, for example, that phone is priced at $1,300—a 335 percent premium compared to the $388 average for the smartphone maker’s existing lineup of 4G-ready devices. So we’re looking at a $912 price increase over the average price point.