5G is the next major milestone for the major wireless carriers in the United States, and they all have their sights set on a wide launch for the network technology in 2019.
Having a network is certainly important, especially with wide availability as quickly as possible, but that only matters so much if there aren’t phones to take advantage of that improved network. Verizon is starting to straighten out the details here, too, as the big red wireless carrier has just announced that it will be teaming up with Samsung to offer up at least one 5G-enabled smartphone in the first half of 2019.
As one might expect, the details are light. We do know that the unnamed Samsung smartphone will take advantage of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Mobile Platform, and that it will have an X50 5G NR modem underneath the hood. And Verizon says that the new smartphone will launch in the first half of 2019, but won’t go into any detail in that regard. The network expects its 5G rollout to kick off in “early 2019”, and expand quite quickly after that.
“Verizon and Samsung announced their plan to bring one of the first commercial 5G smartphones to market in the first half of 2019. The companies 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. This is the result of years of collaboration to deploy an end-to-end solution for commercial 5G services using Samsung network equipment and personal devices.”
This announcement comes at a time when we’re hearing that Apple is planning on waiting to launch its first 5G-capable smartphone until 2020. The company has never been all that beholden to network technologies, as it hasn’t aimed to be first in adoption of 3G or 4G LTE in the past, so it’s not surprising to hear the company won’t be racing out of the gate to support 5G, either. Will a lead by companies like Samsung this time actually matter? Some think it will, if for no other reason than 5G is a significant network improvement.
And which device is Samsung likely going to launch with 5G connectivity? Word on the street is that it’s going to be a specific variant of the upcoming flagship, the Galaxy S10.
There is always the possibility that 5G won’t have a smooth rollout, though. And it’s hard to argue that by 2020, when Apple is rumored to launch its first 5G iPhone, the network technology will be more widely available and stable.
What do you think? Should Apple wait until 2020, or should the company be trying to support 5G as soon as possible — like in 2019?