BERLIN, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) — More than ten million 5G-capable smartphones were sold in Europe last year despite ongoing network roll-out challenges, the market research institute GfK said on Tuesday.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, one out of seven smartphones sold in Europe was 5G-capable, according to GfK.

“The new 5G mobile communications standard is already widespread in Asian markets, and now the European markets are following suit,” GfK noted.

In Germany, 19 percent of all smartphones were 5G-enabled in the fourth quarter of last year, slightly above the European average, according to Gfk. However, in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, this figure already exceeded 30 percent at the end of 2020.

“Although the roll-out of 5G infrastructure in Germany has gained significant speed in 2020, many consumers still lack the clear benefits that justify the higher purchase price of a 5G variant,” said Christian Riedl, mobile device expert at GfK, in a statement.

The German government noted in January that “great progress” was made in mobile coverage in recent years. According to the Federal Network Agency, 96.5 percent of the area in Germany was supplied with 4G by at least one mobile network operator.

In order to close coverage gaps in the country, the German government plans to invest around 1.1 billion euros (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) to build around 5,000 mobile phone masts in areas where private sector expansion is not expected in the near future.

The German government adopted its mobile communications strategy in 2019, which foresees a substantial increase in the number of new mobile phone masts. The country’s Gigabit network has grown by 22 percent in recent years.

GfK estimates that up to 50 million 5G-capable smartphones could be sold in Europe in 2021 and that 5G could be fully established as a new standard by 2022 at the latest.

“We expect 5G technology to make a bigger entry into the mid-range price segment throughout Europe this year and thus to attract additional types of consumers,” Riedl said. Enditem



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