First Sprint 5G Smartphone Coming In 2019
Sprint (NYSE: S) is partnering with LG to release its first 5G smartphone in the US in 2019. William Cho, CEO of LG Electronics North America, said in the announcement, “LG has been working side by side with Sprint for nearly 20 years, and we are looking forward to expanding this partnership with 5G.” The device that will be built has yet to receive a name, price, or firm release date.
Next year, Sprint will launch its 5G network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington. 5G is expected to deliver a far faster and more responsive network than the current 4G offering. Sprint has promised that its 5G network will allow users to download full-length HD movies in “seconds” and let them play games without any “delays, hiccups or lag-time.”
Sprint said that the device it is making with LG will be the first smartphone in the country with built-in 5G. John Tudhope, director of product portfolio for Sprint, said, “We think we’re far enough along in the development that we would be surprised if anyone beat us.”
Rival Verizon might challenge that distinction, as it is launching its first 5G-capable phone this week – the Motorola’s Z3. The phone is priced at $480 and will be “upgradeable” through a module that will be released sometime early next year. Z3 owners will be able to use that module to tap into Verizon’s 5G network.
Sprint, the nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier, is attempting to merge with T-Mobile as early as next year. The companies say that the tie-up is needed so that they will better positioned to compete with AT&T and Verizon’s respective 5G networks. Each is using slightly different types of radio airwaves and equipment for their 5G plans, so some devices may be specific to a single carrier.