News & Analysis

5G Smartphones to get Smarter in 2023

A recent report from telecom infrastructure provider Ericsson believes that smartphones could be getting smarter in 2023 with broader 5G coverage

In spite of the continued economic turbulence, there has been a robust growth in the number of 5G smartphones and chipsets. Come 2023, and the industry could witness a bigger set of supported features for these handsets, says telecom infrastructure provider Ericsson in its November 2022 Mobility Report. 

Global smartphone shipments were down by 10% in the first three quarters of 2022, but the sweet spot remained the purchase of 5G handsets, thanks to the launch of more than 700 such models launched thus far. Of this number, around 200 were released in this year. Features such as dual connectivity are getting added focus amongst handset makers. 

The slicing market would continue to prosper

The Ericsson Mobility Report says the network slicing market has been developing for some time, starting with enterprise and then consumer use cases. Support for service differentiation on smartphones is established in the Android ecosystem, and other operating systems are expected to follow. Slicing in Fixed Wireless Access  is emerging based on network capabilities. 

Beyond network slicing, more networks with “standalone” are being deployed along with compatible devices that have SA enabled for FDD and TDD. Chipsets have been ready for a while, and with enhanced carrier aggregation capability there is a good performance baseline for standalone networks.


Extended reality is just round the corner

Coming to extended reality focus XR-related press releases have been going up each week. XR devices using a companion device for cellular connectivity have used a cable so far, but are expected to lose their cables before long. AR use cases would benefit from the ubiquitous coverage and mobility that only a cellular connection can offer.

Another standalone contender is the reduced capability capability (RedCap) chipsets and devices. The first RedCap-optimized silicon is expected in the market in 2023, with consumer products focused on wearables and IoT following in 2024. RedCap is initially expected to compete in the LTE Cat 4 space, with potential for more cost optimization, power efficiency and complexity reduction, at the expense of performance.

The commercial success of fixed wireless access (FWA) over 5G has developed steadily, the report says. Now, connecting FWA with SA, potentially with a network slice, brings attractive new ingredients to the market. Increased competition in the chipset and device space is expected to contribute to continued growth. 


Many more 5G models expected in 2023

As for predictions around the types of handsets that could arrive in 2023, the only safe prediction is that there will be more 5G device models. Growth will depend on several factors, including macroeconomic development and component availability. In 2023, 5G devices are expected to evolve with more spectrum aggregation capabilities plus improved power efficiency and low-latency capabilities. 

There is undoubtedly a lot of anticipation in the mobile community around the uptake of AR services over cellular networks. At this early stage in the emergence of a market that is projected to become important for service providers, we explore how the ecosystem is developing.

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