Motorola's road to 5G is rumored to involve it introducing a separate snap-on 5G module for its Moto Play Z3 smartphone before delivering a phone with the next-generation wireless technology integrated into the device.
XDAdevelopers is showing leaked photos of the Moto Play Z3 handset and a snap-on Moto 5G Mod module. There's no detail yet on whether the module will support high-band millimeter wave 5G or the sub-6GHz variant, or both. Although Motorola Mobility LLC is traditionally a Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) shop, which has previously said that it would support both high-band and sub-6 5G in its chipsets. (See Qualcomm: The First 5G Smartphone on Display?)
Nonetheless, a snap-on phone module is an intriguing way to debut 5G capabilities. Particularly as users will only need 5G in very select markets in the US (and elsewhere) initially. Using a 5G module in a limited fashion could help to preserve the battery life of an otherwise 4G LTE phone.
There's no word yet on when the Moto 5G Mod might be commercially available.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading