Verizon and Samsung are planning their first 5G smartphone release in the first half of 2019, signaling the carrier’s plans for mobile 5G in addition to the fixed wireless access service that it is already rolling out.
Verizon said that its mobile 5G “will go live in early 2019 and expand rapidly.”
More details about the Samsung 5G smartphone are expected to come out of Qualcomm’s annual Snapdragon Technology Summit, which is being held this week in Hawaii. (Follow RCR Wireless News‘ Sean Kinney on Twitter for news from that event.) Verizon and Samsung said they would be unveiling a proof of concept that utilizes Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem and antenna modules with an integrated radio frequency transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements.
“This is the result of years of collaboration to deploy an end-to-end solution for commercial 5G services using Samsung network equipment and personal devices,” the carrier and device manufacturer said.
“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, VP of wireless device and product marketing at Verizon. “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 has already touted the upcoming availability of first 5G-upgradeable device: Lenovo’s Motorola z3, which has an option for a “mod” (which uses the Snapdragon X50 modem as well as an LTE modem) that will be available in 2019. The operator’s 5G Home service uses Samsung customer premise equipment to connect to Verizon’s millimeter-wave network in markets where it has been deployed, but specialized 5G consumer devices are not necessary since the Samsung equipment provides an in-home Wi-Fi connection.
In related news, Korean carriers officially launched their commercial 5G networks over the weekend but said that enterprise customers will be the first to use them, due to the lack of 5G smartphone availability.