Yesterday, Verizon announced that it’s working with Samsung to develop a 5G smartphone. Details, obviously, were hard to come by, but both companies said that the phone will be on shelves sometime in the first half of the year. Considering that all four carriers are planning to begin rolling out their mobile 5G networks by the end of this year or early next year, that would make this device one of the first 5G phones on the market.
When this device was announced, I assumed that it was probably going to be a Verizon-exclusive phone that isn’t the Galaxy S10. Fast forward 24 hours later and we’ve got some more information that shows this phone won’t, in fact, be exclusive to Verizon, as AT&T has announced it will be carrying the device in spring 2019 as well.
The fact that AT&T and Verizon will both be carrying this device opens up the question of whether or not this is the Galaxy S10. AT&T specifically told us that it will be carrying the same device that was announced by Verizon and Samsung yesterday, and that first half/spring 2019 release window does line up nicely with when we expect Samsung to launch the Galaxy S10.
So, at this point, the best we can say is that this could very well be Samsung’s spring flagship we’re talking about. Obviously, that hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it makes sense that Samsung would look to get in on 5G at the ground floor. Not only is earlier better when it comes to competing with other Android manufacturers, but recent rumors have claimed that Apple won’t release a 5G iPhone until we’re into 2020, which could put Samsung at a significant advantage if it does indeed outfit the Galaxy S10 with 5G hardware.
Aside from the phone, AT&T announced today that it’s creating a 5G Innovation Zone with Samsung to test business use-cases for 5G, specifically as it concerns IoT. On top of that, AT&T also said that it’s finished installing the necessary hardware to send 5G live in 12 US cities, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for that launch to happen at some point before the end of the year. Stay tuned, because this Samsung-made 5G smartphone just got a lot more interesting.