AT&T announced it has teamed with Samsung to deliver another 5G smartphone in 2019 – this time capable of supporting sub-6 GHz bands.
This comes on the heels of announcements earlier in the week from both AT&T and Verizon that they will launch millimeter wave 5G smartphones from Samsung in early 2019.
Speaking to journalists at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit in Maui on Tuesday, Gordon Mansfield, VP of converged access and device technology at AT&T, said that mmWave-supported smartphones will come out first because there won’t be a modem on the market in early 2019 capable of supporting FDD technology on sub-6 GHz bands.
“Our strategy is based on the ecosystem and millimeter wave is what’s possible first,” Mansfield said.
The sub-6 GHz phone is expected to launch during the second half of 2019. The 5G mmWave smartphones previously announced by Verizon and AT&T will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Mobile Platform and the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem and antenna modules.
When it comes to service plans and pricing, Kevin Petersen, AT&T’s SVP of device and network experiences said a new way of thinking is necessary because of the kinds of experiences and uses 5G will bring.
“You’re going to have many devices doing things that you maybe never would have imagined,” he said during a panel session at the Snapdragon Summit. “I don’t think you can think about it as we’re thinking about pricing today, I think that paradigm needs to shift.”
AT&T has plans to launch mobile 5G in 12 markets by the end of this year, expanding to seven additional cities in the first half of 2019.
The operator has also announced a Netgear 5G mobile hotspot device that will debut later this year.