Qualcomm: New 5G Smartphones are Coming

Mobile data has come a long way in just a few short years.

Perhaps the first major breakthrough was when 3G speeds made an appearance, beginning in Japan in 2001. By 2007 and 2008, 3G speeds were commonplace in developed nations around the world.

These days, 4G (or LTE) speeds are common throughout developed markets. LTE is much faster than 3G. Old 3G networks maxed out at about 7 megabytes of data per second. 4G is capable of download speeds of 100 to 150 megabytes per second, depending on the network.

That’s nothing compared to the next generation of wireless data. 5G will be between 10 and 100 times faster than LTE, meaning downloads will happen at a speed of 1GB to 10GB per second.

That’s fast.

The only problem is nobody is quite sure when 5G speeds are coming.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), which is one of the largest suppliers of chips for the mobile phone industry, has been testing 5G technology for a few months now. Sherif Hanna, who is part of the testing team, told telecom information company Light Reading that the company is currently targeting a mid-2019 release date for 5G capable smartphones.

It’s likely smartphones released at that time will feature a setting where users will always be connected to a 4G network. This will enable the phone to send and receive data even if it can’t find a 5G connection.

As we get closer to 2019, this may impact the upgrade cycles for many device makers. Why would a consumer upgrade to an existing 4G model when 5G is just around the corner?