Sales of 5G smartphones are expected to reach 8.4 million units in South Korea this year as handset manufacturers are racing to release more affordable devices that support 5G.

According to market tracker Counterpoint Research, 5G smartphones are estimated to account for 48 percent of South Korea's total smartphone sales this year. Last year, 5G-capable phones made up 28 percent of the total smartphone sales here.

New 5G smartphones set to hit the domestic market

The number of subscribers to the 5G mobile network in South Korea reached 5.77 million as of last week, according to the country's science ministry. South Korean mobile carriers commercialized 5G services in April last year. Counterpoint Research said 13 new 5G smartphones will hit the domestic market this year, up from seven 5G handsets last year.

Samsung W20 5G foldable smartphone
Representational Picture

Samsung Electronics the world's largest smartphone vendor, unveiled 5G versions of the Galaxy A71 and A51 mid-range smartphones this week, reports, Yonhap news agency. It is expected to release the 5G variant of the Galaxy A91 in the second half of the year, according to Counterpoint Research.

LG to join the bandwagon

LG Electronics is also projected to launch a new 5G smartphone in the first half of the year and to introduce one or two 5G-supported Q series smartphones in the second half of the year. Apple is also expected to release a 5G version of its iPhone in the second half of the year, it said.

Counterpoint Research, however, said the global spread of the novel coronavirus could affect the expansion of the 5G market, adding that the fast recovery of mobile demand in the second half would be a key factor in the market's growth.