Verizon and Samsung have officially announced plans to bring one of the first commercial 5G smartphones to market in the first half of 2019, while Apple is said to wait until at least 2020 to release a 5G iPhone.
Verizon and Samsung will unveil a proof of concept, powered by the upcoming flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platform with the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem and antenna modules with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements, at the annual Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui this week.
5G mobility service requires significant investments in new infrastructure on the carrier side as well as new (and bulky) hardware in the mobile devices. The service is expected srart rolling out in specific cities / areas and gradually expand in the following years. Once implemented, it promises to provide massive bandwidth and greater opportunities for connectivity. In its fully implemented version, it will offer capacity and download speed many times faster than today’s 4G LTE network. Along with network latency that is faster than the blink of an eye. Verizon said its 5G mobility service will go live in early 2019.
The company has already launched the first commercial 5G service in October when 5G Home went live in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.
The new 5G new networks and the first versions of smartphones could come with problems such as spotty coverage. On the other and, 5G boosters argue the switch is a much bigger speed upgrade.
Meanwhile, Apple is said to hold off until at least 2020 before offering a 5G iPhone. According to Bloomberg's sources, Apple will wait as long as a year after the initial deployment of the new networks before its main product gets the capability to access them.
But the decision to delay a 5G iPhone could be related to the company’s feud with Qualcomm, the leader in 5G-enabled chips, and its alliance instead with Intel, which won’t have chips available in time to support 2019 phones.
Apple didn’t provide any comment.
Apple has always been a laggard in cellular technology, but the leap from 4G to 5G is significant enough that it may become a major selling point for new devices.
Besides rival Samsung, China's major smartphone producers Oppo and Huawei Technologies Co. also have indicated they plan to offer 5G phones.