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A 5G Smartphone Timeline for 2019

Dan Jones

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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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. 
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?
TV Monitor
TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/8/2018 | 5:01:00 PM
Galaxy S10 5G version due March 2019
The Galaxy S10 5G due out in March 2019 is the only confirmed 5G phone for next year.

Korean mobile 5G launch is set for March 2019, so this is how we know there would be a 5G Galaxy phone.
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/8/2018 | 3:14:59 PM
Still, I don't think I'm going to place a lot of stock in this considering the timeline for actual broadly deployed 5G networks. By the time we have those, these 2019 smartphones will likely already have obsolesced! ;)
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