Verizon and Samsung announced on Monday (Dec. 3) that they would launch U.S. 5G phones in the first half of 2019, according to Reuters.
The move would essentially beat Apple to the market with smartphones featuring 5G technology, because reports say that Apple is going to wait until 2020 to release the first iPhones featuring the tech.
Verizon and Samsung will use Qualcomm modem chips and unveil a prototype at Qualcomm’s annual Snapdragon Technology Summit held in Maui, Hawaii from Dec. 4 to Dec. 6.
Although Verizon is leading the charge for the new technology, which will greatly increase speeds on mobile networks – up to 50 or 100 times faster than the currently available 4G – some industry watchers say the new tech won’t be widely available until about 2025 or so.
Verizon recently launched a commercial 5G service in October with an offering called 5G Home, which is so far available in Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Indianapolis.
Apple is currently entangled in a legal disagreement with Qualcomm, with the consequence of Apple no longer using Qualcomm modem chips. Instead, many predict the company will switch to Intel modems, although that technology won’t be ready for production until late 2019.
The delay could prove to be fortuitous for Verizon and Samsung, as the companies fight for Apple’s customers.
Verizon and Samsung aren’t the only companies with which Qualcomm has partnered for the new technology. Sprint and LG have also partnered with Qualcomm to launch a 5G smartphone in the first half of 2019.
“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, a Verizon vice president. “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.”