Sprint thinks it’ll be the first U.S. carrier to release a 5G-ready phone. Following a new partnership with LG, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier believes it can be an industry leader as we transition from 4G LTE to 5G.
Both companies intend to release the product in the first half of 2019. Sprint and LG say their 5G-ready phone will download full-length HD movies in seconds, load premium games and videos without delays, and improve network reliability. If the still-pending merger with T-Mobile is approved, it’s unclear what Sprint will do but the magenta-loving carrier is also developing a 5G network.
While Sprint handles the development of a 5G network, LG will ensure it uses a next-generation modem for the hardware.
The U.S. carriers are racing to go live with their 5G networks first, but all of them have stayed away from confirming any actual dates.
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will test the technology later this year in select cities before a slow nationwide roll-out next year. It does, however, depend on the mobile devices offered by partners.
Many companies are expected to wait several months into 2019 before embracing 5G. Even Samsung might skip including a 5G-enabled modem for the upcoming Galaxy S10. These hardware manufacturers would like to see 5G become widespread and stable. In the last decade, we saw too many mobile devices struggle in moving from 3G to HSPA/HSPA+ to 4G LTE.
By the end of the year, we’ll see mobile hotspots riding on 5G. The U.S. carriers are taking advantage of these small-scale products before adding phones, tablets, and smartwatches to their networks. Then the race gets competitive. But, from the look of it, Sprint will win in the U.S. because of its partnership with LG.