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Apple 5G iPhones Reportedly on Hold Until 2020, as Verizon Sets Samsung 5G Smartphone 2019 Launch

Samsung is looking to get a first-mover advantage in 5G smartphones, with rival Apple reportedly planning to sit out of the game until 2020.

On Monday, Verizon and Samsung announced plans to launch one of the first commercial 5G smartphones in the first half of 2019, which will use chips from Qualcomm.

Meanwhile, Apple will not introduce 5G-capable iPhones until 2020, according to a Bloomberg report citing anonymous sources. Along with Apple’s history of being a fast-follower on new telecommunications technologies — to wait until early kinks get rectified — Bloomberg speculated that Apple’s delay may also be tied to its feud with Qualcomm and shift to use Intel chips. Intel will not have 5G-capable chips ready in time for the commercial production of smartphones in 2019, per the report.

Details on the Verizon/Samsung 5G Android-based smartphone launch are light for now. The companies said they will unveil a proof-of-concept Samsung 5G phone this week at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui. The device will use the chipmaker’s Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem and antenna modules with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements.

According to Verizon, the carrier’s 5G mobility service will go live in early 2019, offering bandwidth far greater than today’s 4G LTE networks, and other benefits like improved network reliability.

“5G will usher in a new era of mobile connectivity, allowing people to connect to data, experiences and other people in ways never thought possible,” Brian Higgins, VP of wireless device and product marketing at Verizon, said in a statement.

The announcement with Samsung comes after Verizon this fall launched what it touted as the world’s first commercial 5G service. The Verizon 5G Home service went live in October in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento, offering customers either a free Apple TV 4K set-top or a free Chromecast Ultra, and also three free months of YouTube TV.

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