Samsung shipped more 5G phones last year than it predicted

The company shipped 6.7 million 5G Galaxy phones worldwide in 2019, higher than the 4 million it anticipated in September.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
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Samsung shipped 6.7 million 5G phones in 2019. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Samsung shipped a lot more 5G phones last year than it expected.

The company on Thursday said it shipped more than 6.7 million Galaxy 5G smartphones in 2019. Samsung's first 5G phones hit the market in May, and as of early September, it had shipped 2 million of them. At that time, it said it expected to ship about 4 million by the end of 2019. 

5G is touted as a game-changing technology, with the ability to dramatically boost the speed and coverage of wireless networks. It can run between 10 and 100 times faster than your typical 4G cellular connection today. And latency, the amount of time between when your phone pings the network and when it responds, is faster than what Wi-Fi provides.

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Samsung's one of the few companies to launch more than one 5G phone. By the end of 2019, it had a handful around the globe, including the Galaxy S10 5GGalaxy Note 10 Plus 5G (as well as the smaller Note 10 with 5G for certain markets like Korea), Galaxy A90 5G and Galaxy Fold 5G. Only two of those, the S10 5G and Note 10 Plus 5G, are available in the US. 

As of November, Samsung made up 54% of the global 5G smartphone market, the company said Thursday. 

While 6.7 million sounds like a large number of devices, it's a tiny fraction of Samsung's total smartphone shipments. In the third quarter alone, the most recent data available, Samsung shipped 78.2 million smartphones, according to Strategy Analytics. It's the world's biggest phone maker, with 21% share, the firm said. 

Samsung likely will launch even more 5G phones in 2020 as the technology becomes more mainstream around the globe. The company said it will introduce "new advancements that will improve the speed, performance and security of Galaxy 5G devices even further."

Galaxy S10 5G set the pace for Samsung's 5G phones

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