The recent Mobile World Congress is one of the highlights of the technology industry. As usual, this year’s event took place in Barcelona; click here to read our coverage of the coolest mobile devices announced at MWC. This time out, we look at some of the interesting 5G news announcements.
With AT&T scheduled to bring 5G service to 12 cities by the end of the year, are 5G smartphones expected as well? Let’s take a look at what MWC 2018 told us.
Sprint and T-Mobile adding 5G Networks
Not content to let AT&T steal all the thunder, Sprint and T-Mobile both announced plans to bring 5G service to a variety of U.S. cities over the next two years. News about these new networks appeared in ZDNet. Neither company released anything about 5G smartphones.
Sprint revealed that Los Angeles, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston are expected to receive 5G service sometime this year. T-Mobile’s plans involve building 5G networks in 30 cities with Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, and Dallas slated for the service by the end of 2018. In both cases, finding enough spectrum is a key factor in bringing 5G to more locations.
What about 5G Smartphones?
Frankly, what good is 5G wireless service without the mobile devices able to use it? News about 5G smartphones at Mobile World Congress seemed a little slim. Many companies are working on the technology, but little concrete information on availability exists.
Huawei introduced a 5G chipset and plans on releasing a 5G smartphone using it in the second half of 2018. The company said its chipset is the first commercially available using the new technology. CNBC and other sources reported on this news.
Additionally, that network reported on a new initiative from Intel to include its 5G modem technology in laptops by Microsoft, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. The computer makers announced no release dates for these new devices. For their part, both AT&T and Verizon divulged they plan on bringing 5G hotspots to the marketplace before smartphones.
The Dawn of the 5G Era still a Year or Two in the Future
A lack of spectrum and compatible devices places the true emergence of 5G into 2019 at the earliest. The early focus on hotspots and internal modem tech hints at data being the dominant driver instead of voice. Expect to read more about 5G in the coming months here at Bandwidth Place.