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A 5G Smartphone Timeline for 2019

Dan Jones
3/8/2018
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It seems that we can reasonably expect the first 5G smartphones to arrive sometime in the first quarter of 2019, with the next Mobile World Congress at the end of February being the venue where manufacturers will debut their next-generation handsets.

I spoke to multiple people at Mobile World Congress last week that agreed with this basic timetable. T-Mobile US Inc. 's CTO Neville Ray said he expected smartphones "by this time next year." Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) CTO John Saw described that timeline as "aggressive" but possible, even as the carrier messages availability in the first half of next year. (See T-Mobile to Roll Out 5G in 30 US Cities in 2018 and Sprint's Initial 5G Cities Will Get 4G Massive MIMO First.)

"I think we're probably a year and a bit away from the launch of commercial devices," Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) chief engineering officer Murthy Renduchintala told me at the show.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is expecting to get 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) -compliant 5G New Radio (NR) chipsets from several silicon providers later this year in order to deliver mobile 5G "as soon as possible." (See Verizon: We'll Be First With Fixed & Mobile 5G.)

Availability of 5G chipsets could still be a bottleneck for smartphones but it appears that the first devices will arrive earlier rather than later next year.

Of course, we're likely to see some of the usual issues that happen when we move to a next-generation wireless standard. Initial devices are probably going to be expensive, likely suffer from battery life issues, and frequently revert to 4G connections because of the limited availablity of 5G networks.

Nonetheless, Mobile World Congress 2019 is going to be real coming-out party for mobile 5G smartphones.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/30/2018 | 5:37:40 PM
Re: Galaxy S10 5G version due March 2019
@Phil: I don't think I'm ready to go that far for the long haul, but I do agree that confessions where you don't have to -- or only barely have to -- pay attention to your phone = SO NICE.
Phil_Britt
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Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2018 | 4:50:10 PM
Re: Galaxy S10 5G version due March 2019
@Joe,

 

Better is to go without. One of the best vacations I ever had was in Mackinac in mid-2000s. No cell signal. I was off the grid. Went back a few years ago, no longer off the grid.

 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2018 | 4:47:45 PM
Re: Galaxy S10 5G version due March 2019
@Phil: Frankly, it's simpler to do without! :p As it is, I'm tempted to go back to a flip phone.
TV Monitor
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TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/26/2018 | 6:55:47 PM
Re: Galaxy S10 5G version due March 2019
Samsung 28 Ghz 5G in action in Japan by KDDI

50 5G tablets streaming 4K video from single cell tower at a baseball stadium. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em64Yzf_2PI
Phil_Britt
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Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/23/2018 | 6:29:04 PM
Re: Galaxy S10 5G version due March 2019
@Joe,

 

Try one of the large (wallet-size) lithium-ion portable batteries/chargers. You can get 2-3 charges a day and recharge over night. Costs about $90, but well worth if it if you are not going to have access to a charger, or want to stay on the move (at a theme park, for example) during the day.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/23/2018 | 3:36:04 PM
Re: 2019
@Phil: The broadband analogy is an apt one. In the end, broadband tech won out over alternatives -- but it struggled mightily in its earliest incarnations.

So too with wireless xG tech.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/23/2018 | 3:34:37 PM
Re: Galaxy S10 5G version due March 2019
@kq4ym: Battery issues seem to be plaguing all the latest phones -- and their software updates -- lately. My own phone has been suffering from major drainage issues myself lately -- just from sitting around idly most of the day. Even a single portable charger doesn't seem to be enough for a busy day on the go these days.
Phil_Britt
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Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/22/2018 | 10:22:09 PM
Re: 2019
@Joe,

 

You're absolutely right. 3G was stuck at 2.5G for about 10 years as the underlying infrastructure was built out. Broadbrand had more promise than reality for many years for the same reason.
kq4ym
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kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2018 | 6:47:00 AM
Re: Galaxy S10 5G version due March 2019
As noted the devices most predictably are probably"going to be expensive, likely suffer from battery life issues, and frequently revert to 4G," which will make for an interesting gamble for providers of service and devices in as short as a year's time. I still wonder about the range issues and how they will be remedied to elimiate those user issues in non-urban areas. 
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/9/2018 | 10:08:26 AM
Re: Galaxy S10 5G version due March 2019
And nothing could possibly change in a year right?
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