The hype surrounding the fifth generation of mobile internet has been around for a while now, but it looks like 2019 will be the year that consumers will finally get their hands on a 5G smartphone.
Promising greater capacity, faster download speeds and lower latency, 5G networks have been trialled in some test sites around the world, including Vodafone testing 5G in a site in Salford, Greater Manchester earlier this year. However, as of yet, no 5G-capable devices have existed.
With a predicted 1.5 billion 5G subscriptions by 2024, inevitably most smartphone are racing to offer the technology to customers. Offerings from Huawei, OnePlus and Motorola all scheduled to launch next year. The only company notably absent is Apple, which has said that it will wait until at least 2020 to unveil 5G-capable devices.
Verizon and Samsung get ahead with 5G smartphone release
Today, Verizon and Samsung made their intentions to be at the head of the pack clear, with the announcement of plans to bring one of the first commercial 5G smartphones to market in the first half of 2019.
The partners are due to unveil a proof-of-concept, which will be powered by the upcoming flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platform, at the annual Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui this week.
This will enable one of the first commercial 5G services, using Samsung network equipment and personal devices to offer “massive bandwidth, greater opportunities for connectivity and improved network reliability”.
Verizon 5G mobility service will go live in early 2019, and once available, Samsung 5G smartphone users will be able to use Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network
Earlier this year, Verizon launched what is thought to be the world’s first commercial 5G service in October when 5G Home went live in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento. Verizon Home allows customers to use 5G technology but only through its own network standard and systems.
Samsung has been an active contributor, with Verizon, in the development of standards that make 5G deployment possible, and was the first company to earn FCC approval for its 5G commercial products.
Brian Higgins, vice0president of wireless device and product marketing at Verizon said:
“5G will usher in a new era of mobile connectivity, allowing people to connect to data, experiences and other people in ways never thought possible. Together, Samsung and Verizon have made huge gains in bringing 5G commercial services to consumers in several cities. Now, we’re partnering to create a smartphone to put the power of 5G in the palm of your hand.”