Analyst: iPhone 12 could be a disappointment if carriers botch the 5G rollout

There has been quite a bit of talk about Apple’s shift to 5G connectivity in the 2020 iPhones, with some analysts anticipating it could dramatically increase iPhone shipments. One analyst, however, anticipates that the 5G iPhone will be a letdown because of the carriers in the United States.

Speaking to CNBC, Loup Ventures partner Gene Munster explained that he thinks the first year of 5G for the iPhone will be a “disappointment for investors.” The switch to 5G is still a “massive opportunity for Apple,” Muster said, but carrier rollouts of 5G will be the bottleneck in the process.

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“The first year of 5G for the iPhone will be a disappointment for investors,” Munster said. “Ultimately, this is a massive opportunity for Apple, huge play on 5G, but it’s going to take a while for networks to roll out coverage.”

Carriers in the United States remain optimistic that 5G coverage will be relatively widespread by the end of 2020. Verizon executives have said that they expect half of the United States to have 5G coverage by 2020, while other carriers have said coverage could reach 75%. AT&T started its roll out of “5G” this week, but with a major limitation and little improvement in speed compared to LTE.

Munster believes that if the iPhone 12 with 5G sells worse than analysts currently expect, the blame will be placed on carriers rather than Apple:

Disappointing sales would rest “largely on the shoulders of the carriers who have talked a lot about the 75% coverage by the end of next year. I think that that is optimistic at the best case,” he said.

Reports out of the supply chain have suggested that Apple is forecasting over 100 million iPhone 12 shipments in 2020 thanks to demand for 5G connectivity. This would represent an over 20% increase compared to estimated sales for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro in 2019.

As we head into 2020, we should quickly learn whether or not carriers are actually on track to hit their targets in terms of 5G coverage. Those successes or failures will be a lot for the iPhone 12, which we expect in fall of 2020.

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