The first 5G smartphone from Samsung went on sale this week in the US, prompting us to look again at 5G and its expected impact on the aftermarket.
First, the number of 5G phone sales this year is expected to be “tiny,” according to Strategy Analytics. The new Samsung S10 5G is only available on Verizon at present, and can only pick up 5G in limited locations within Chicago and Minneapolis. Plus it has an opening price point of $1,300. So we’re talking a limited market.
But it’s the beginning of a rollout over the next 2 years that will see 5G ramping up and soon becoming the norm, according to Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston.
Apple is likely to offer a 5G iPhone around October 2020, and 2021 is considered “the proper take-off year when everyone starts buying them and more networks are available along with applications to go with it like high speed video,” said Mawston. By 2026 the market will be mature, and by 2030, look for 6G.
5G on paper will eventually be able to deliver speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G. But in the real world, we can expects speeds 5 to 50 times better than 4G, depending on how far we are from a tower, and whether we are indoors or in a moving car, said Mawston.
And 5G will have a lower latency (it boots up faster), which will make it important in the car. Navigation and mapping will be more accurate because the signal bouncing to and from the car is quicker for geolocation. And advanced driver safety equipment will react faster, so you’ll have better collision avoidance.
Vehicle-to-vehicle communication may migrate to 5G for instantaneous alerts that a car is stalled around the blind curve ahead.
Movies will stream faster in the car, and kids in the back seat can play faster connected games.
On the phone, a 5G connection to the cloud will be so fast that it will seem the cloud storage is embedded in your phone. “Imagine having the capabilities of a $10,000 gaming PC on your phone,” Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon told ZDNet in January.
Until then, carriers are racing to deploy 5G service.
Verizon, as we noted, currently serves 5G only to parts of Chicago and Minneapolis, but it plans to deploy it to 20 more cities this year including Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, Phoenix, Providence, San Diego, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C. said USA Today
Phone-wise, Sprint also just announced an LG V50 ThinQ 5G will available May 31. It will roll out first to customers in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Kansas City, Missouri, suggesting Sprint will offer 5G service concurrently, said USA Today
In the near future, Sprint plans to expand its 5G network to Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.
AT&T already has 5G available in parts of 19 cities– Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Los Angeles , Louisville, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Raleigh, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Waco.
It plans to extend that to parts of Chicago, Las Vegas and Minneapolis and beyond.
T-Mobile (which is seeking to merge with Sprint) is planning a 5G launch in 30 cities later this year.