Samsung launched the Galaxy A71 5G phone at US carriers T-Mobile and Sprint on 19 June, 2020, and at AT&T on 10 July, 2020. The Galaxy A71 5G retails for $600 and offers a 6.7-inch, edge-to-edge Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display, four cameras, in-display fingerprint sensor, and a 4,500mAh battery.

The Galaxy A71 5G is the first mid-range 5G phone for the US market addressing growing consumer dissatisfaction with exorbitant smartphone prices. Affordable phones already exist in other regions: Xiaomi’s RedMi brand already has a sub-$300 5G phone available in China, but a mid-range 5G phone is a first for the US market and coming from the foremost Android OEM known for premium phones, sets a precedent for the future.

Samsung aims to lead 5G

Samsung has publicly stated that it’s going to use cheap 5G phones to boost its sales. The mid-range A-series of phones have saved Samsung’s bottom line in Q4 2019, and an expanding 5G portfolio helped Samsung hold its ground in Q1 2020 as Covid-19 caused retail shutdowns and economic fallouts. Samsung (and other OEMs) have also seen a stagnating demand for expensive phones and lengthening upgrade rates in general; Samsung’s newest Galaxy S20 series of phones were discounted right after launch, which is unheard of for flagship premium phones, due Covid-19 lockdowns.

The A71 5G represents an opportunity for Samsung to lead the 5G space and aid in mainstream 5G adoption, especially in the US due to the lack of an Apple 5G phone, as well as in Europe, given Huawei’s struggles to make inroads in the US.

The phone currently supports sub-6Ghz but a mmWave support version is expected for Verizon in summer 2020, expanding the phone’s footprint across all major US postpaid carriers and helping the A71 hold its market value as 5G takes off in the coming years.

More affordable 5G phones are on the way

Carriers have always been looking to 5G to move the needle, especially as Covid-19 results in substantial fiscal consequences and a further lengthening of phone upgrade rates. Although the Galaxy A71 5G is a step in the right direction, it won’t be the one to move the needle for 5G by itself.

However, affordable phones from other OEMs such as Lenovo, HMD, and possibly LG are already on their way, which should collectively help 5G’s cause. Carriers and OEMs have a much better chance of riding out the imminent recession with mid-range, affordable phones which retain their market value, than premium flagships.

OEMs with affordable 5G phones will see a lot of traction from the carriers in terms of marketing and promotional support and consumers are more likely to consider price over brand in times of fiscal insecurity.

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