Forget foldables, 5G will be the toughest sell of 2019

Forget foldables, 5G will be the toughest sell of 2019

The new standard for network connectivity has been around for several years, and 2019 should be the year when next-generation connectivity will become mainstream thanks to the spread of new smartphones with 5G support. But will it really be so? I doubt that very much...

Hardware is expensive

The first hurdle that the new technology will have to face for greater adoption is quite obvious. New 5G smartphones are very, very expensive. The new Galaxy S10 5G will almost certainly exceed the threshold of $1,000 while the alternative from Huawei, which is not limited to 5G connectivity, exceeds $2,500!

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At the moment the Huawei Mate X is the most complete 5G smartphone thanks to its exclusive Balong 5000 chip. / © NextPit

Only Xiaomi, for the moment, has been able to show a smartphone equipped with 5G antennas at a competitive price. This is because the Chinese company has simply launched a variant of an existing smartphone, the Mi MIX 3, updating its technical specifications.

Would you be willing to part with so much cash just to be one of the first to try the fifth generation mobile network?

High battery consumption

Some recently announced 5G smartphones have large batteries. The Galaxy S10 in the 5G version even has a 4,500mAh cell. The majority, on the contrary, use normal batteries with a capacity that does not exceed the average, such as the Mi MIX 3 5G and its 3,300mAh.

This could be a big problem for the first generation of 5G smartphones. The new network, at the moment, uses considerable energy and, judging the results in this department of current smartphones, I doubt we can get through to the evening safely while remaining connected to the next-gen 5G network.

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The Galaxy S10 5G has 4,500mAh of battery: will that be enough? / © NextPit

Infrastructure is practically non-existent

Let's face it. Although operators want to give it the big licks with pilot projects or experiments with video calls or video broadcasts on the 5G network, the structure necessary to make 5G available throughout most of the world still does not exist. Only the largest cities are already equipping themselves with new generation antennas, the majority of the world will have to wait months (if not years) before you can enjoy the new technology.

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There are some antennas to install... / © Telekom

Do you remember how long it took from the arrival of 4G on the market to the moment when you could use it anywhere? This is a trick question because 4G is still not available everywhere, gaps are present for network operators all over the world. Of course, 100% coverage is perhaps utopian and impossible. Anyway, before 5G can be used by most users, it will take a long time...

Phone contracts will be expensive

That's right. By comparing the launch of 5G with that of the LTE network, the contracts proposed by the operators will initially be extremely expensive. As if the non-existent network coverage was not already a stumbling block to the adoption of 5G, you will have to pay a considerable extra to be able to project yourself into the future.

These contracts do not yet exist, but I have serious doubts as to whether access to the new networks will be guaranteed to all users. Special contracts for 5G services will probably have to been taken at first.

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How will the operators behave about this? / © NextPit

It will also be interesting to observe the behavior of the various operators with regard to data traffic. If you believe that 50GB of mobile data is a lot, imagine the traffic that can be generated on a 5G network. The very high data transmission rates are able to drain even the most generous phone tariffs in a very short time if you don't pay attention. Probably, together with the 5G rates, contracts will also be launched with more GB allowance or even flat rates and these will certainly not be cheap.

It's better to wait for now

It sounds like stupid advice, but I think that before jumping on the bandwagon of 5G, it is better to wait. Taking on an expensive phone contract just to try a network that probably isn't even available in most of the places you visit every day might not be a great idea.

Even investing a considerable amount in a 5G compatible device is not a great idea. Before the network becomes sufficiently widespread to be used properly, many other smartphones will see the light and the components needed for 5G connectivity will become cheaper, lowering product prices.

  • Qualcomm is already working on a second generation 5G modem

In addition, SoC and antenna technology will continue to improve, reducing power consumption and improving reliability, which is one more reason to wait a little longer before getting caught up in the craze for 5G.

What do you guys think? Can't wait to buy a 5G smartphone or, like me, would you rather wait?

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  • Albin Foro Mar 1, 2019 Link to comment

    Eventually, I'm thinking/hoping a single 5G service will replace all our multiple current mobile and internet delivery contracts and the indecipherable bandwidth/hardware "packages" they're sold in. I'm bothered that the declared speculative "national emergency" over Chinese vendors is going to delay it in Canada (nobody batting an eye at the American NSA's proven decade of secret data aggregation, with industry accomplices).

    Short term, I'm more interested in how 5G roll out will impact internet, 4G and lower tier pricing - either to raise them to underwrite the pricey 5G infrastructure, or lower them as 5G becomes the "premium" replacement for 4G service. (All my tablet use is currently on fast internet wifi, while 3G is plenty for phone voice/SMS and minimal data usage, though LTE is there for it.)

  • storm Mar 1, 2019 Link to comment

    The budget segment of the phone market is quite compelling. i don't see myself even thinking about 5g until 2020 or even later.