Samsung says it sold 6.7 million 5G smartphones in 2019

Key Points
  • Samsung said it took up about 54% of global market share for 5G phones as of November 2019.
  • The firm also said it's bringing 5G to its Galaxy Tab S6 tablet in South Korea in the first quarter.
A woman holds different colored models of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 at the launch event of the Galaxy Note 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, August 7, 2019.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Samsung sold 6.7 million 5G smartphones worldwide in 2019, the company announced Friday.

The South Korean consumer electronics giant said it took up about 54% of global market share for 5G phones as of November 2019, citing data from industry research firm Counterpoint.

It's already the world's top smartphone maker, accounting for about a fifth of the global market, but has been up against some stiff competition in the form of China's Huawei. Other Chinese manufacturers, like Xiaomi and Oppo, have also been gaining ground.

Samsung released its latest 5G flagship, the Note 10+ 5G, over the summer. It's expected to release its next main flagship, the S11, later this year. The company also said Friday that it would be bringing 5G to its Galaxy Tab S6 tablet in South Korea in the first quarter.

"Consumers can't wait to experience 5G and we are proud to offer a diverse portfolio of devices that deliver the best 5G experience possible," said TM Roh, head of research and development at Samsung's mobile communications division.

"For Samsung, 2020 will be the year of Galaxy 5G and we are excited to bring 5G to even more device categories and introduce people to mobile experiences they never thought possible."

Shares of Samsung closed about half a percent higher Friday.

What is 5G?

It's the next set of standards for mobile internet, coming after 4G. The technology is often touted as a big improvement on 4G, ushering in faster data transfers and reducing latency.

What is 5G?
What is 5G?

While the first major deployment of 5G has been in smartphones, experts predict the tech will be a boon to multiple connected devices from the smart speaker in your living room to self-driving cars.

But 5G has been caught up in the tense trade battle between the U.S. and China, with the U.S. placing Huawei under a pressure campaign that resulted in it losing access to Google's Android operating system.

Along with Samsung, Huawei is one of a handful of companies that has been releasing 5G phones. Others include LG, Motorola, Xiaomi and ZTE. Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker, is a leader in the space.

The fifth generation of mobile networks is still in its infancy, with countries only rolling it out gradually and in specific areas. For example, in the U.K., CNBC found that networks were patchy, offering decent speeds in some parts of London but reverting to 4G data in others.

Apple, another company that has lost ground to Huawei, hasn't yet released a 5G phone. Analysts are expecting the tech giant to unveil its first 5G-compatible device this year.