The introduction of 5G iPhones later this year would serve as a catalyst that can accelerate Apple iPhone growth in the financial year 2021, a Morgan Stanley report said on Wednesday. Apple is working with channel partners to expand the distribution of iPhone trade-in and financing programs, which will be an important factor driving upgrades when more expensive 5G devices are introduced, according to the report titled "What's the Signal Strength of US 5G Spend in 2020?"
"5G also has the potential to benefit more than just the iPhone, as higher network speeds/capacity coupled with lower latency reap benefits for the Apple Watch, AirPods and the App Store, especially if Augmented Reality becomes a growing app category with 5G," the report emphasized.
Apple is expected to come with four iPhones in 2020 and one of them will at least come with 5G support. Apple iPhone or S/TMUS deal (the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint), if completed, could create enough competitive threats to potentially spur investment in late 2020 vs. 2021.
"While we have noted that delays in mid-band spectrum auctions are likely to push meaningful edge 5G equipment investment into 2021, the 5G iPhone release and S/TMUS approval have a potential to accelerate this," the report noted.
The top 4 North American service providers are all likely to have "nationwide" 5G coverage by the end of 2020. One of the most incremental revenue opportunities for wireless carriers in 5G is fixed wireless (potential to be an $18 billion opportunity).
"However, as seen with early Verizon trials, attempts to provide fixed wireless service with high-band, millimeter wave spectrum have been challenging. Mid-band spectrum, with better propagation, remains key to capitalizing on this opportunity outside of dense urban areas," the report said.