Mobile Device Trends: GCF – March 2021

Mobile Device Trends: GCF – March 2021

The Global Certification Forum (GCF) is the globally recognised quality mark for the interoperability of mobile phones and other devices that incorporate mobile connectivity.

As of January 2021, over 130 device manufacturers across 23 countries are participating in GCF. The scheme is also recognised by operators with interests in global markets (Fig 25).

This annual review of Mobile Device Trends is based on an analysis of device certifications published by the Global Certification Forum during 2020. The analysis provides insights into the mobile technologies and functionalities being requested by operators and end-users across markets worldwide. It also takes into account the effect of Covid-19 on the sector and certifications.

A total of 715 devices from 75 manufacturers were certified by GCF in 2020. The following outlines the key findings:


• Now in its second year, the integration of 5G into devices has continued rapidly, and the incorporation of the technology is significantly outpacing 4G in its first years.

• 149 devices (21%, up from 2.5% in 2019) of all 2020 certificated devices integrated 5G. This came from 28 vendors.

• 32 of these devices were also able to use the mmWave spectrum, with 30 using the Ka band (both 28 GHz and 39 GHz), five used the 26 GHz K band, and four using the 28 GHz LMDS band.

• A third (34%) of 5G devices supported standalone operation.

• This compares with just 15% of devices (66) able to access LTE spectrum in the 4G standard’s second year of operation.

• In 2019, two companies were responsible for 69% of all 5G certifications. While there is still a significant market leader, contributing over three times as many certifications as its next rival, this domination was markedly reduced.

• The complexity of 5G systems is high. One device supported up to 19 5G bands. The average (mean) 5G device supported 8.8 5G bands, with 65 devices (44%) deploying 10+ bands, and nine deploying 15+.

Mobile Device Trends: GCF – March 2021

Mobile Device Trends: GCF - March 2021

© GSA 2021