In this article we are going to list the 10 biggest phone companies in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 biggest phone companies in the world. I remember a childhood which did not revolve around phones. We would go out to play with friends, read books and sleep early in the night. The first time I saw a cell phone was when I was 10 and my dad got one from work. If you were to see it today, you would consider it one of the most quaint things in the world, with a tiny screen (no touch of course, that wasn’t even in our thoughts back then), and the most incredible thing about it for me was that it had a color background, which seemed like a phenomenal achievement back then. The thought of owning a phone with a camera, MP3, video camera, and more memory than I knew existed at the time was a distant dream at best, even when the first iMate by HP (NYSE:HPQ) hit the market cause it cost more than we could ever consider pulling together.
Nowadays, you can’t come across a single teenager, even in their early teens without one of the latest flagship phones on the market. It has become as much of a status symbol as a house or a car used to be, and I’ve seen tons of people being judged for having older, cheaper phones and that includes me as well. Now that the biggest companies come up with at least a flagship model every single year, while also launching several mid range phones as well as lower end ones means there are a myriad of choices to go for.
And not only are there more options now, the type of phones have changed completely. A decade ago, I remember having a discussion with a friend on whether soon we’d see smartphones replace every other type of phone out there. A decade later, I am sure we can all agree now that the same has happened and now, every person, no matter how rich or poor, owns a smartphone. This isn’t just because its a popularity thing or everyone wants to have the best phone; the lower range smartphones are quite affordable and Chinese versions of phones are popping up all over the place, which can often cost even less than $100.
Historically, there have been two giants in the smartphone industry, and who have been responsible for incredible innovation and developments within the smartphone industry. It is the competition between Samsun and Apple which has resulted in smartphones booming in popularity across the world and with features that would sound outlandish just a couple of decades ago. However, that doesn’t mean that they are the only big companies in the phone world. Other companies, especially some based in China, have started manufacturing huge volumes of smartphones and found customers. While these companies may not command the same loyalty that Samsung and Apple do, they are still infringing upon the market share and luring more and more customers away by providing similar features at much cheaper prices.
Nowadays, in the phone industry as well as the telecom industry, the next biggest thing is 5G. What exactly is 5G? It is the 5th generation technology for broadband cellular networks, which is being adapted by the 11 biggest telecom companies in the world, as well as other telecom companies too including Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO), Qaulcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS). While deployment of the network started back in 2019, it is still not accessible in most of the world especially as the pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works and deployment has been delayed in most areas. However, it is expected that by 2025, 5G will have more than 1.7 billion subscribers across the entire world. Due to the greater bandwidth, phones with 5G networks will be able to run speeds higher than what normal internet service providers currently deliver. This is why the biggest phone companies in the world worked throughout 2019 to make sure their flagship phones in 2020 would have 5G capacity and currently, the latest Samsung and LG flagship series have 5G capability, in addition to OnePlus and the Apple iPhone 12.
Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic which has gripped the world currently didn’t just impact 5G deployment, it impacted nearly every industry in the world which includes the smartphone industry. Due to the recession that has taken place in wake of the pandemic, millions of people globally lost their jobs and don’t know where their next check will come from, which is why the demand for smartphones has fallen in 2020. Further, most major phone companies have production facilities in China to take advantage of cheap parts and cheap labor, and since the virus originated in China which went into lockdown, production was affected as were global supply chains. On the other hand, as people were forced to go into lockdowns, their only method of staying in contact was through the usage of smartphones as calls and videocalls increased across the world. It is unlikely that the pandemic will have a permanent effect on the smartphone industry as phones are more of a necessity than ever, and the world is increasingly going digital. In fact, it is likely to continue growing once the pandemic subsides and things return to normal, or the new normal.
The 10 biggest smartphone companies in the world shipped 312 million units in just the third quarter of 2020. The total units sold by all mobile companies was 380 million units. This means that more than 80% of all phone units were sold by just 10 companies which is incredible. You won’t see companies in this list which used to dominate the industry many years ago, such as Nokia which wasn’t really able to adapt to smartphones until it was too late or Blackberry (NYSE:BB) which was considered the first business phone and was a must have for any business executive or a person wanting to come across as one. Now, they are considered dinosaurs in an ever changing business. We may be talking about Samsung or Apple like this a decade from now, but till then, let’s take a look at the current kings of the phone industry, based on number of units shipped in the third quarter of 2020, starting with number 10:
Total number of units shipped in Q3 of 2020 (in millions of units): 5.6
Share of the market in Q3 of 2020: 2%
TECNO is a Chinese company which was founded 14 years ago in 2006 and has focused mainly on the African and South Asian markets, with most of its operations focused in Africa as it found that to be the most lucrative market.