The arrival of 5G networks has become one of the most discussed topics in the commercial real estate industry. If and when this faster network becomes mainstream, building owners will find themselves needing to make sure their properties’ in-building network can accommodate any 5G devices their tenants might be using—including mobile phones.
Yes, while 5G networks have been thought of as being a driving force for technologies like self-driving cars, augmented and virtual reality and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, mobile phone users will most likely expect their devices to be able to leverage the network, too. Currently, there has not been much information disclosed about what users can expect from 5G smartphones once they can become available, but there are some details customers can anticipate.
Brands and Products’ Offerings
Currently, OnePlus, Samsung, LG, Google, Asus, Xiaomi, Nokia are among the companies that are expected to introduce 5G smartphones, according to Digital Trends’ Rose Behar. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 smartphone is expected to have a 5G option that will feature a 6.7-inch screen and six cameras. The 5G smartphone will be exclusive to Verizon for the first half of this year, and AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Spectrum Mobile and Xfinity Mobile will offer it this summer, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, Verizon will sell an attachment during the first half of the year, the 5G moto mod, for the Motorola moto z3 phone so it can access the carrier’s 5G networks, The Wall Street Journal reports. Sprint and Verizon will offer LG’s first 5G smartphone, the LG V50 ThinQ 5G during the spring and summer, respectively. All of the major carriers expect that more 5G compatible devices will be made available from numerous carriers going forward.
Apple is not expected to join the 5G smartphone fray in 2019 however, The Wall Street Journal reports. Mark Hung, an analyst with research firm Gartner, Inc., stated iPhone users will probably have to wait until next year before Apple releases a 5G model.
(Potentially) Faster Speeds
5G smartphone users might expect their devices to move significantly faster than their 4G LTE predecessors, but the difference might not be as significant as people might think, according to analyst Joe Madden. How quickly a user can launch an app depends a lot more on the phone’s computing power than the amount of time it takes to transfer data. Behar writes the early results seen from the fixed wireless devices AT&T has deployed are rather close to current 4G LTE speeds, but that could change as these tests are in the early stages.
Additionally, wireless carriers haven’t deployed all of their new spectrum and infrastructure and work’s still being done on the 5G standard itself, Digital Trends reports. So while it’s difficult to say how much carriers will increase their speeds at the moment, users should have answers sooner than later given the current pace of 5G development. Within the next few years, peak speeds in ideal conditions should achieve 5Gbps or more, which would accommodate mobile VR and AR technologies—two of 5G smartphones’ most promising technological advances.
Size and Price Increases
If 5G is going to impact smartphones like customers expect, manufacturers will have to include multiple mmWave antennas into the devices, which use technologies such as beamforming to direct sensitive short-range signals, according to Digital Trends. Additionally, devices that leverage Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 5G technology will need both 5G and LTE modems. These enhancements will all but ensure 5G smartphones will be more expense and thicker than the average LTE mobile device.
Counterpoint Research analyst Jeff Fieldhack expects the aforementioned Galaxy S10 5G smartphone will cost more than $1,000, according to The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, Samsung announced its smartphone that unfolds into a tablet will also support 5G—and start at nearly $2,000.
Coverage Limitations—For Now
While AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint all plan to deploy a 5G network this year, their initial rollouts will only take place in certain parts of the country—larger cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. A nationwide deployment will most likely take years, The Wall Street Journal reports.
“Even if you have a 5G phone this year, your chance of actually accessing a 5G network is probably fairly low,” Hung said.