No, Qualcomm doesn’t expect 5G phones to arrive in 2018

Expectations remain set for the first half of 2019

The race to releasing commercial 5G smartphones is on, but manufacturers won’t hit the finish line this year, according to Qualcomm’s Sherif Hanna, director of product marketing for 5G.

In a recent tweet, Hanna referenced one of the articles that came out following a recent interview given by Durga Malladi, senior vice-president of engineering at Qualcomm.

The article, published by VentureBeat, is titled “Qualcomm: First 5G phones could arrive in 2018 with up to 4Gbps speeds.”

“I would like to clear the air on this,” tweeted Hanna. “We do *not* expect 5G smartphones to be available before the end of the year. @durga_malladi was speaking to the availability of 5G-capable mobile data products, like hotspots.”


The article is based on an interview with the Economic Times. In that piece, Malladi was quoted as stating that when it comes to 5G smartphone development:

“Almost all the OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] are preparing for 2019, starting from the early part of 2019. And depending upon the region, some of them are more aggressive than that and they would like to do that in late 2018 itself.”

This quote was quickly spun out into stories by a variety of publications, including the publication quoted in Hanna’s above tweet.

Hanna’s follow-up point is that 5G commercial products will likely arrive this year, depending on the market, but not in the form of smartphones.

Instead, the products will likely be hotspots and what telecoms call ‘Customer Premises Equipment’ (CPE).

In fact, here in Canada, Huawei is already in the midst of 5G fixed wireless trials with Telus, with a modem that offers 2Gbps peak speeds.

Still, that doesn’t mean 5G smartphones aren’t coming in the near future.

When I got in touch with Hanna via Twitter, he added, “We still expect (and are working very hard towards) 5G smartphones in the first half of 2019.”

For more on 5G and what to expect from the world’s next generation of wireless tech, check out our explainer here.