Want faster internet on the go? These companies will soon have 5G-ready phones
Who doesn’t want faster access to the internet when out and about? The next generation of mobile internet, 5G — short for “fifth generation” — is on the way, and it’s bringing exceptional data download and upload speeds with it.
But there’s still a way to go until 5G is as ubiquitous as the widely available 4G, and we’re still taking our first baby steps into a faster future. Whether you think we need 5G or not, we’re going to see more and more manufacturers start picking up the new standard — and we expect to see the first commercially available 5G phones in 2019. Here is every phone that supports 5G, and a whole bunch of rumors about some that might.
There is absolutely no doubt Apple will pick up 5G eventually, the only question is “when?” At the moment, the whispers indicate that the iPhone giant won’t be looking to release a 5G iPhone until 2020 — so expect 5G capabilities on the iPhone XIS, or whatever numerically nightmarish name Apple adopts.
This is no surprise, really. Apple can be slow to adopt new technology, just look at how long it took for it to adopt wireless charging and water-resistance. That’s not because Apple is lazy — far from it. Instead, Apple will likely only include the standard once it’s sure it works well and is not a waste of time. Being in a dominant market position, Apple can afford to wait.
Apple phones rumored to support 5G
▪ iPhone 2020
There haven’t been any rumors from Google about a 5G update for the Pixel range but it’s early days yet. The Pixel 3 has only just come out and if Google sticks to its usual schedule, we won’t be seeing the Pixel 4 until October 2019.
However, that Pixel 4 range would likely include the upcoming Snapdragon 855, a chip widely suspected to support 5G connections. If that’s true, it’s highly probable that 2019’s Pixel 4 range will support 5G. We’ll keep this updated as more details emerge.
HMD GLOBAL (NOKIA)
Like a few other manufacturers, there has been no word on when Nokia handsets will support 5G. However, Nokia has been very active in helping to build up 5G infrastructure and is involved with the city of Tokyo to provide 5G networks in time for the 2020 Olympics. In July 2018, T-Mobile also announced it was working with Nokia to help build a U.S. 5G network. It could also make $3.50 for every single 5G phone released, thanks to its work on the standard.
While HMD Global, the manufacturer of Nokia branded phones, hasn’t yet let rumors slip that it’s working on a 5G phone, we can’t imagine it will be too long before we hear about one.
While Honor will likely be working closely with sister company Huawei, that hasn’t halted its ambition to pip its bigger sibling to the post in launching a phone with 5G support. Honor has announced its intention to be the first phone company to release a full 5G phone — which it intends to do in early 2019.
At the moment, it’s likely any 5G phone will be a flagship-level device, and looking at Honor’s usual release schedule, it’s entirely possible the Honor View 20 will be Honor’s stab at breaking the 5G market before anyone else. We’ll keep you updated as news rolls in.
It’s all quiet on the eastern 5G front — no HTC phones have yet surfaced with rumored 5G support.
But don’t rule out the industry veteran. HTC was confirmed to be one of the companies working with Qualcomm to bring 5G support to 2019 handsets. That means we will likely be seeing an HTC device with 5G support before the year is out but we’ve no idea which one. The HTC U13 would be the obvious pick, though.
Huawei has made no bones about its ambitions for 5G and first spoke about a handset with 5G support in February 2018. Back then, 2019 was the target date for release, and it seems Huawei is still pushing that deadline.
Interestingly, many rumors point to Huawei’s folding smartphone as being the first hotbed for Huawei’s 5G ambitions. That would be a double-whammy of technological goodness indeed. Otherwise, the Huawei P30 Pro would be another obvious choice for the tech but that is just speculation at this stage.
Huawei phones rumored to support 5G
▪ Huawei folding smartphone
LG is another of Qualcomm’s confirmed 5G partners but the South Korean veteran has been busy outside of that partnership. LG is also shooting for the goal of getting the first 5G phone on the market and teamed up with Sprint to deliver a 5G device for release in early 2019. Since this phone is likely to be an exclusive partnership with Sprint, it might be a phone separate to the LG G8 ThinQ.
LG phones rumored to support 5G
▪ LG/Sprint phone
Motorola is in something of a unique position on this list because it has technically already released a phone with 5G capabilities. The Moto Z3 uses Motorola’s Moto Mod attachment to add a 5G power pack accessory onto the back of the phone, making it possible to access 5G networks. At least, it will when the accessory becomes available in early 2019 and even then, it’ll only be available to Verizon customers. So while Motorola technically has a 5G phone already, most people aren’t really counting it as the first 5G phone released. That accolade is being saved for the company that releases a phone with built-in 5G support.
But it does mean Motorola has shown its hand in terms of 5G, and we can definitely expect to see even more 5G connectivity hitting Motorola phones in 2019. We will update you when we have a better idea which phones will contain it.
Motorola phones that support 5G
▪ Moto Z3 (with Moto Mod)
OnePlus is another manufacturer that has committed to a 5G-capable smartphone in 2019 but that statement may not be all it seems, according to some rumors.
At the Shanghai Mobile World Congress in June 2018, OnePlus CEO and founder Pete Lau confirmed OnePlus plans to release a 5G-ready smartphone in early 2019. However, a new report alleges OnePlus will be seeking to introduce a new range for 5G support, essentially meaning the OnePlus 7 or 7T would be unlikely to have 5G capabilities.
The logic is clear: 5G tech is likely to be expensive and may push the OnePlus 7 out of OnePlus’s usual midrange pricing, making it a huge departure for the company. Therefore, a new model might be introduced to sidestep this issue. However, OnePlus hasn’t shied away from introducing cool new tech in its flagship line so far — the OnePlus 6T debuted an in-display fingerprint scanner, and so it wouldn’t be a total shock for OnePlus to slip 5G connectivity into the OnePlus 7. We’ll be keeping an eye on this for sure.
OnePlus phones rumored to support 5G
▪ Unnamed 2019 OnePlus phone
Oppo recently made waves by claiming an Oppo phone was the first to access a 5G network. According to a claim made by Oppo Global Vice President Brian Shen, the connection was made on a pre-commercially available Oppo R15. Even more recently, Oppo claims to have held a WeChat video call using 5G.
If these claims are true, then it seems Oppo could end up climbing the winner’s pedestal for the first real 5G-enabled phone. But the proof will be in the pudding on release.
Oppo phones rumored to support 5G
▪ Oppo R15
Samsung is the largest mobile manufacturer in the world and it would be silly to expect it to sit back and ignore the 5G bandwagon. Samsung already announced it would create a 5G handset for Verizon, one for AT&T (though we’re not sure if these will be the same product with different antennas), and at least one version of the Samsung Galaxy S10 is widely expected to support 5G.
Samsung phones rumored to support 5G
▪ Samsung Galaxy S10
▪ Samsung 5G smartphone for AT&T
▪ Samsung 5G smartphone for Verizon
There has been next to nothing on the 5G front from Sony, so we have no idea when a 5G Xperia smartphone might be released. However, Sony is on Qualcomm’s list of 5G partners, so you might see one in 2019.
Chinese juggernaut Xiaomi has laid its cards flat on the table, announcing a 5G-capable model of its Mi Mix 3 will be available. However, despite trumpeting it on Twitter, this model will not be available until 2019. Will it be out early enough to be the first? There has been no indication it will be — but at least we know exactly what Xiaomi is offering.
Xiaomi phones that support 5G
▪ Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 (5G model)
ZTE is named as another of Qualcomm’s 5G partners and originally planned to release a 5G smartphone in early 2019. Unfortunately, ZTE has had to delay its first 5G phone until late 2019 for an unknown reason. So while ZTE is still on the 5G wagon, don’t expect it to be the first to market.
ZTE phones rumored to support 5G
▪ Unknown ZTE 5G phone
Updated December 4, 2018: Updated Samsung to reflect 5G partnerships with AT&T and Verizon.