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200 million 5G phones are expected in 2020, analysts say

But the coronavirus could limit production and shipments.

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Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus and S20 Ultra group shot

More people will buy 5G phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 in 2020.

Sarah Tew/CNET
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Global 5G phone shipments are expected to reach 199 million by the end of 2020, Strategy Analytics said Thursday. But disruption caused by the deadly coronavirus will cap how many are sold, the report said.

Just 19 million 5G phones were shipped in 2019, but by the end of this year, Strategy Analytics expects 15% of all smartphones shipped globally to be 5G phones. The biggest markets for the phones are expected to be the US, China, South Korea, Germany and Japan.

"The ongoing coronavirus scare and subsequent economic slowdown will put a cap on overall 5G demand this year," Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. "The COVID-19 outbreak is currently restricting smartphone production in Asia, disrupting supply chains and deterring consumers from visiting retail stores to buy new 5G devices in some parts of China."

Strategy Analytics expects "a strong bounce-back" during the second half of 2020 if the spread of the coronavirus is reduced.

The coronavirus is an illness exhibiting pneumonia-like symptoms. It was first reported to the WHO on Dec. 31 after originating in Wuhan, China, and spreading to Asia, the US, Australia, Europe, the UK and the Middle EastChinese scientists have linked the disease to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses that include the deadly SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS. Coronavirus deaths now total more than 2,100, with over 75,000 cases confirmed.