A few companies that claimed to have developed 5G capability really haven’t in the true sense of the technology, though they seem to be working very arduously realize this, and consumers in the US and elsewhere can expect to start seeing 5G networks come alive in 2019. All four U.S. major providers – Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint – have promised to make 5G a reality in the New Year. Moreover, ahead of the networks, smartphones from Samsung, LG, and other 5G-capable devices have already been announced.


The Year 2019 may as well be the year of 5G, or won’t it?  Though no carrier or phone manufacturer has yet been able to launch an actual 5G device that has the promised performance of the network: 100 times the speed of 4G, seamless interoperation with Internet of Things (IOT), tight security, low latency between device and network, smart home, media consumption, augmented reality, self-driving cars, telemedicine, etc. – the publicity and the race to deploy are certainly on. As noted in a recent article in this column, if half of the hype about 5G is realized, the difference between this network and its predecessor would be like that between night and day. So you can understand why the major telecom and phone manufacturing companies are in a race.

As stated above, no company has yet manufactured a 5G phone device, so it is not clear whether or not the phones will cost more than what you presently pay for 4G phones. However, OnePlus, a Chinese company that has built a reputation for offering premium phones without premium prices to match, is hinting that their 5G phones might cost $200 to $300 more. This price point is certainly high.


European countries seem to be following the US lead in questioning whether using Huawei for vital infrastructure for mobile networks would not leave them exposed to snooping by the Chinese government.  Germany’s Deutsche Telekom said last week it “takes the global discussion about the security of network elements from Chinese manufacturers very seriously.”  The statements came shortly after Alex Younger, the director of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, reportedly said that Britain needs “to decide the extent to which we are going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies.” Furthermore, at about the same time, mobile provider British Telecom said it was removing Huawei equipment from key parts of its current 3G and 4G networks as part of an internal policy not to use it for core infrastructure, which will also apply to 5G networks. Belgium’s cybersecurity agency is reportedly considering a ban on Huawei, while the Czech Republic’s prime minister recently ordered his government office to stop using Huawei mobile phones, after the national cybersecurity agency warned that products by Huawei and another Chinese telecom company, ZTE, pose “a security threat.”

The Year 2019 may be hot on 5G, but the main players could be relatively more geographically compact.



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