LG to leave smartphone business by mid-2021

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Pour one out for LG Mobile: the electronics company has announced it’s now calling time on its worldwide smartphone business.

In a statement released over the Easter break, LG confirmed plans to close its mobile unit, after the decision was approved by the company’s board of directors. LG’s mobile sector will ‘wind down’ over the next three months, with the closure expected to be complete by July 31, 2021.

Although the company has continued to produce well-received devices (alongside more ‘gimmicky’ models with modular features and rollable screens), the increasing competition in the smartphone space has made it hard for LG to stand out, particularly in the busy low to mid-tier price range.

While LG remains a big name in other areas of consumer technology – such as televisions, refrigerators and household appliances – it’s become less of a star in the mobile world, as rival challenger brands continue to expand their market share globally.

“LG’s strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services,” said LG in regards to the move.

“Moving forward, LG will continue to leverage its mobile expertise and develop mobility-related technologies such as 6G to help further strengthen competitiveness in other business areas.”

LG K series phones
LG K Series, 2020.

Can I still buy LG phones?

LG has confirmed that it’s current inventory of devices will remain on sale, at least while stocks last, but no new smartphones will be produced. So if you’re eyeing an LG phone – such as the still-available LG Velvet, the LG V40 ThinQ, or cheaper models like the LG K or LG G  series – now’s the time to buy, especially as these devices are likely to be offered at clearance prices in the coming weeks and months.

However, there’s not yet a timeline on how long LG devices will receive software updates, just a vague assertion from LG that it will honour its existing obligations “in accordance with its contractual obligations, manufacturer’s warranty and Australian consumer laws.” So while LG has stated it will continue to offer device support, replacement parts and software updates for now, details are scarce.

Additional announcements on LG’s Australian website state that previously scheduled Android 11 roll outs will go ahead as planned, and that selected additional phones will also receive an Android 12 update down the line. However, this will depend on how devices perform during update tests, as well as Google’s distribution schedule – so again, there’s no guarantee that your LG phone will actually be eligible for Android 11 or 12.

If you’re comfortable with an up-in-the-air update promise, and want to get your mitts on the last-ever LG smartphones, various models are available to pick up now from Australian retailers. You can find devices on sale from JB HiFi, The Good Guys, Kogan, Mobileciti, Bing Lee, Target and Australia Post, with prices ranging from under $200 for the K series, to around $799 for the 5G-ready LG Velvet.

You can also pick up the Velvet on a 12, 24 or 36 month plan from Vodafone, with the device’s 5G capabilities making it a great fit for Vodafone’s 5G phone plans. Unfortunately, you can’t currently buy any other LG devices on telco plans: if you’re looking at a different LG smartphone, you’ll need to pair it with a SIM-only plan. Whether you’re interested in postpaid or prepaid, you’ll find a selection of everyday phone plans in the below tables.

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Try using our mobile phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you want to compare a larger range of offers from other providers, use our phone plan comparison tool. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

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