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ZTE first off the starting blocks with 5G phone

By ZHOU MO | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-24 07:35
5G mobile phones on show during an industry expo in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province. [Photo by  FANG DONGXU/FOR CHINA DAILY]

ZTE Corp announced that its 5G smartphone has been available for reservation in China since Tuesday as the Chinese smartphone maker races to gain a foothold in the increasingly competitive 5G smartphone market.

It is the country's first 5G phone model to have its price announced and to have entered the pre-sale phase.

The ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 mobile platform and a 4000mAh capacity battery with wireless charging support.

The handset comes equipped with a 6.47-inch AMOLED display with a waterdrop notch. It also features a triple camera setup which includes a 48-megapixel main sensor, an ultra-wide 20-megapixel lens and a 8-megapixel telephoto lens.

The Shenzhen-headquartered company said the handset will be put on sale through its official online store as well as e-commerce platforms including JD, TMall.com and Suning.com for 4,999 yuan ($727) each.

The pre-sale announcement comes a week after the first batch of eight 5G phone models obtained the quality certificate needed to hit the market.

Smartphone vendors that have secured the certificate include Huawei, ZTE, Oppo, Vivo and One Plus.

Rivalry in the field of 5G smartphones is intensifying as Chinese smartphone vendors race to bring their products to the market. Huawei is scheduled to release its 5G smartphone, the Mate 20X 5G, this Friday.

"We believe sales of 5G smartphones in China can only take up 1 to 2 percent of the whole market this year. That's about two to three million units. Given that situation, we don't expect large sales of ZTE's 5G smartphone this year-probably hundreds of thousands of units. But the launch is a boost to the company's brand," said James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research.

"Currently, China's 5G infrastructure is still at the trial stage. Without sound internet support, there is much room for improvement in terms of the user experience of 5G smartphones."

Roger Sheng, VP analyst at consultancy Gartner, said the launch of the first 5G smartphone in China is a highlight for ZTE, but the company needs to make greater efforts on promoting product strategies and channels.

"At the present time, all smartphone vendors except Huawei have to rely on chipsets from other companies. This may place Huawei at an advantageous position in the 5G market," he said.

According to a research note by market research firm Canalys, Chinese consumers are expected to account for one-third of the world's 5G-enabled handsets within five years.

It expects 17.5 percent of smartphones shipped in China will be 5G-capable next year and the percentage could rise considerably to 62.7 percent in 2023.

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