A 5G Device Timeline for 2019

Dan Jones
1/16/2019

Ready for the dawn of the 5G smartphone? All signs now point to these mobile devices arriving on the scene within the first half of 2019.

The earliest 5G devices are already available, such as customer premises equipment (CPE) from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) for Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s fixed wireless "5G Home" service. Meanwhile, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s first mobile device, the Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) Nighthawk 5G hotspot, is currently available for select business customers, but will get a wider release to the general public this spring at $500 a unit. (See A 5G Device Timeline for 2018 & Beyond, Verizon's Home-Grown 5G Arrives Today and AT&T's 5G Switches On in 12 US Cities, but Only for 'Early Adopters'.)

But all this is just a precursor to a stream of devices expected later this year. Indeed, the first half of this year appears to be a key proving ground for 5G devices.

1H2019
Most notably, Samsung is planning to unveil its flagship Galaxy S10 later in February in San Francisco. The rumor mill has Samsung launching at least one 5G S10 model, just ahead of the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona. The South Korean conglomerate showed off a prototype 5G model, albeit under glass, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (See CES 2019: 5G Under Glass.)

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is also working on a 2.5GHz 5G phone with LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) for the first half of 2019 in Sprint's first nine planned 5G cities. (See Sprint Reveals 3 More 5G Cities, Promises 'Cool' 5G Phone & Small Cell.)

Meanwhile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon have all said they will have Samsung 5G phones this year. Verizon is planning to launch its first Samsung 5G phone in the first half of this year (likely the S10). Meanwhile, AT&T is promising 2 Samsung 5G phones this year, the first coming in the Spring, as well as a phone for Sprint in 2019. (See Verizon Plans to Offer Samsung 5G Phone in H1 2019.)

Verizon's Motorola Mobility LLC z3 with a snap-on 28GHz 5G module is still expected to be among the first 5G-capable phones on the market. (See Verizon's First 5G Mobile Device? It's a Snap!)

Additionally, Chinese vendor, Xiaomi, appears to have teased a 5G reveal for February 24.

Don't forget the 5G hotspots!
Along with smartphones, 5G hotspots are likely to be the hot next-gen product in 2019. This is because a hotspot allows consumers to deliver a 5G signal -- via WiFi -- to their existing 4G devices. As well as the Netgear Nighthawk 5G unit, Sprint is working with High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) on a 2.5GHz 5G "hub," slated for a release in the first half of this year. (See Sprint Unveils Another 5G Device.)

The Inseego (formerly Novatel Wireless Inc. (Nasdaq: NVTL)) 5G hotspot will be an interesting unit for Verizon. The release date hasn't been revealed yet, but Inseego says the hotspot will be a 5G New Radio (5G NR)-compatible product. Verizon currently uses its own 5GTF spec for its existing fixed wireless service. Verizon has said it will launch the standards-based 5G NR mobile network "sometime" in 2019. (See Verizon CFO Expects Mobile 5G Service 'Sometime' in 2019.)

2H19
Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd is expected to deliver its Mate 30 5G snartphone in the second half of the year, possibly with a foldable display. There is not much chatter yet on what 5G frequencies will be supported yet.

Qualcomm showed off an OPPO 5G handset that should arrive in the later part of 2019. (See Qualcomm Lines Up Chinese Wave for 5G Smartphones.)

Apple?
While 2019 is expected to deliver a healthy handful of Android 5G phones, one key smartphone may be behind the curve. Apple's 5G iPhone is expected to arrive in 2020. (See iPhone Upset Leads to Apple Crumble, (See A 5G Apple iPhone? Don't Hold Your Breath! and FCC's 28GHz 5G Auction Kicks Off With $36M+ in Bids.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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