[Update: 2nd 5G Samsung phone] AT&T also announces plans to release a 5G Samsung phone in 2019
It looks as if 2019 will be the year of 5G wireless connectivity for those who live in the United States. It was just yesterday when Verizon Wireless announced they would be selling a 5G compatible Galaxy S10 during the first half of next year. Samsung has a history of using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoC in the United States and we’ve known the Snapdragon 855 would be equipped with their own 5G modem dating back to March of this year. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that AT&T has officially announced they will be selling a 5G compatible Samsung smartphone during the first half of 2019 as well.
Wireless carriers throughout the United States have been working together with technology companies including Samsung and Qualcomm on 5G technology for a while now. First, this required the 5G standard to be made official and then it was time for tech companies to begin making prototype modems. With those in place, they were able to conduct some field tests with wireless providers to make sure the technology worked and what they should expect from the upgraded networks.
So far Intel, Qualcomm, and Samsung have created their own 5G modems with each having their own strengths. Since the modems have been created and are ready to go into commercial products we were only left with wireless carriers upgrading their current networks. In this new announcement, AT&T says they have “installed the latest mobile 5G network equipment” in 12 markets (including Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C. Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Fla., Louisville, Ky., Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, N.C., San Antonio and Waco, Texas), where they plan to first make the service available this year.
This type of service and technology is useless without commercial products that can take advantage of it. The company does say they are on track to release the world’s first mmWave mobile 5G device this month, but the average customer is looking for major smartphones that will be able to leverage 5G technology. So the big news, just like Verizon announced yesterday is that AT&T is “working with Samsung to offer a 5G smartphone” to United States customers sometime during the first half of 2019. AT&T did not mention the Qualcomm modem by name like Verizon, but it’s safe to assume this will also be the Galaxy S10.
Update: More 5G Samsung Phones
AT&T did not share many details about the second 5G Samsung phone in the new press release. They only said it will be able to access “both 5G mmWave and sub-6 GHz” and they expect to offer the device in the second half of 2019.