AT&T has made another splash in the upcoming 5G carrier wars.
While carriers are busy upgrading their existing mobile networks to the latest technology, they've also been partnering with phone manufacturers to sell phones that will work with their new 5G networks. For instance, AT&T has confirmed it plans to carry a second 5G Samsung phone in 2019.
The first Samsung 5G device is expected to arrive this spring. We’ve already seen its unusual notch at this year’s Qualcomm Tech Summit in Hawaii. Now, AT&T is teasing yet another 5G Samsung phone. It'll also offer a third 5G device, but that's just a Netgear hotspot. Anyway, little is known about Samsung's second 5G phone. We only know it isn’t expected until the second half of 2019.
The reason for these carrier-specific phones is that, since carriers are still working to build out their networks, phone manufacturers aren’t rushing to make phones reliant on a technology that isn’t expected to be widely available until at least 2020. EE, for instance, has said it plans to upgrade 1,500 sites to 5G in 2019, but that massive effort will only cover 15 per cent of the UK population.
To ensure there is a phone consumers can use on its new 5G network, EE has partnered with OnePlus, which plans to deliver a 5G phone in 2019. Similarly, in the US, AT&T is partnering with Samsung to deliver not one but two 5G phones. If you’re in an area with one of the new 5G networks, these upcoming phones should give you access to lighting-fast internet and download speeds.
The genesis of 5G has certainly reached a watershed moment - from modems inside server racks a couple of years ago to announced 5G devices and actually demonstrable 5G devices. And with rollout in the UK and US slated for next year, it's an exciting time for the tech.