While it feels like it’s been a long time coming, 5G smartphones are arriving sooner than you may think. One day after Samsung announced it will be launching a 5G smartphone on Verizon’s network early next year, both AT&T and Sprint revealed that they, too, will offer the device around the same time.
The 5G smartphone will be the second device to launch on AT&T’s 5G mobile network, following the completion of the first millimeter wave mobile 5G browsing session with a standards-based device on a 5G network back in October. AT&T and Samsung also teamed up to create America’s first manufacturing-focused 5G Innovation Zone — a test bed that will allow both the carrier and manufacturer to take a closer look at how 5G will impact the manufacturing industry.
Following Verizon and AT&T’s announcements, Sprint made sure it was known that the carrier wasn’t being left out. According to PCMag, Sprint’s vice president of product engineering and development, Ryan Sullivan, confirmed to the publication that it is also teaming up with Samsung to launch a 5G smartphone in the first half of 2019. Around that time, the carrier also plans on beginning its mobile 5G rollout in nine markets including New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and more.
As for the 5G smartphone, there aren’t any details other than the fact that it will feature Qualcomm’s X50 G modem. A proof of concept will be unveiled at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Technology Summit this week — where Qualcomm just announced its new Snapdragon 855 processor, with 5G support.
We can also expect to see it include Samsung’s RAM module that the company announced in July. Known as the LPDDR5 module, it’s the first 10-nanometer-class 8GB RAM out there. Not only will it help to provide battery life by reducing power consumption, but it will also provide greater efficiency. It also brings quicker data transfers to the table that are 1.5 times faster than the chips being used in top-tier smartphones.
While it’s been years in the making, the 5G technology brings its fair share of improvements, including speeds up to 100 times faster than current cellular service, along with reduced latency. It will also bring advances to technology like connected cars, augmented reality, cloud-powered apps, and more.
Once 5G service goes live early next year, those with Samsung 5G smartphones will be able to take advantage of the network through Verizon immediately. The carrier also mentioned that users will be able to take advantage of additional services, games, and features.
“5G will usher in a new era of mobile connectivity, allowing people to connect to data, experiences, and other people in ways never thought possible,” said Brian Higgins, vice president, wireless device and product marketing at Verizon, in a press release. “Together, Samsung and Verizon have made huge gains in bringing 5G commercial services to consumers in several cities. Now, we’re partnering to create a smartphone to put the power of 5G in the palm of your hand.”
Verizon originally kicked off its 5G network testing in the United States two years ago and then launched the first home 5G internet service in October — available in Houston, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and Sacramento, California. Last month, it also made the first 5G video call using a Moto Z3 smartphone that comes equipped with a 5G Moto Mod.
Meanwhile, loyal iPhone users might have to wait a while longer for their 5G device. News of Verizon and Samsung’s plans for 5G come the same day that rumors surfaced about Apple’s plans for the network. According to Bloomberg, sources close to the matter claim the company doesn’t plan on releasing a 5G iPhone until at least 2020.
Updated December 4, 2018: Sprint confirms plans to offer a 5G smartphone in 2019.