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5G phones could hit the market by 2019

5G trademark logo (Source: 3GPP)
5G trademark logo (Source: 3GPP)
Qualcomm's CEO recently unveiled that the first 5G smartphones for the masses will hit the market in 2019, about one year earlier than previously expected.

Since the introduction of the first 1G system in 1982, a new mobile generation arrived about every decade. However, it seems that this rate is accelerating, and the consumer market will get 5G connectivity in about two years from now. The FCC approved the spectrum for 5G on July 14, 2016, and 5G connectivity trials are scheduled to take place in Japan, the US, and Europe before the end of 2017.

According to Qualcomm's CEO Steven Mollenkopf who spoke about this topic at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, "You will see [5G] in real devices, on the shelf, in 2019." He also added that a year ago he would have answered "2020" to the same question. Qualcomm's head highlighted the increasing demand generated by both the consumer and business market segments as the main reason for the early introduction of the 5G technology.

By the end of 2019, several network operators located in the US, Japan, and South Korea are expected to provide 5G connectivity. Mollenkopf expects at least few Chinese carriers to join the first wave of 5G adopters as well.

Last week, Qualcomm unveiled a prototype 5G NR mmWave system that can handle download speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second. The mobile chip maker also announced its plans to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials based on the new 5G NR specifications with Nokia, so it would not be a surprise to see the HMD Global-owned brand releasing one of the first 5G-enabled handsets.

5G NR stands for 5G New Radio and is a standard describing the next-gen network that will deliver multi-gigabit per second data rates, latencies as low as 1 ms, and improved reliability compared to the existing 4G LTE networks in use today. For a few interesting details coming directly from Qualcomm's VP of Engineering, please check the interview below.


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Codrut Nistor, 2017-09-18 (Update: 2017-09-18)