LG to build 5G smartphone for Sprint, will launch in 2019

LG is the second major device manufacturer to announce a formal 5G partnership with an American carrier

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South Korean electronics giant LG and U.S.-based telecom service provider Sprint have announced that they’re working together on a 5G phone set to launch in the first half of 2019.

According to an August 14th, 2018 PCMag report, the device is currently moving towards the testing phase, and is not a “prototype or statement of intent.”

PCMag spoke with John Tudhope, Sprint’s director of product marketing, who explained that the device “is 100 percent a truly integrated smartphone that we think will be the first of its kind.”

“It is a really elegant, high-end premium look-and-feel phone…not much thicker than a normal high-end premium smartphone, and will have the appropriate battery to account for the power needs,” said Tudhope, in an exclusive interview with PCMag.

Though Tudhope wouldn’t confirm any of the phone’s internal specs, PCMag’s Sascha Segan speculated that the device will probably feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with a Qualcomm X50 5G modem added on.

Tudhope also told PCMag that the device will connect to Sprint’s 5G network through the 2.5GHz frequency band.

This partnership between LG and Sprint marks the second time that a major U.S. carrier has formally announced a working agreement with an Android device manufacturer.

Lenovo-owned Motorola used an August 2nd, 2018 media event to formally unveil a 5G-enabled Moto Mod that can connect Moto Modo-capable Motorola devices to Verizon’s 5G network set to launch in late 2018.

Though Verizon plans on being one of the world’s first carriers to debut a true 5G network, Motorola’s 5G Moto Mod won’t be available to consumers until early 2019.

Canadian carriers continue towards 5G

While some U.S. carriers seem to already have established 5G commitments with device manufacturers, Canada’s major carriers haven’t publicly disclosed similar agreements.

However, Canada’s largest carrier Rogers used an April 2018 media event to formally announce a 5G partnership with Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson, adding that 5G trials will take place in Toronto and Ottawa over the course of 2018.

During the carrier’s Q2 2018 earnings call, Rogers CEO Joe Natale said that the carrier is making “steady progress” towards an eventual 5G network deployment.

Canada’s third-largest carrier Telus is currently working with Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei to establish a 5G network.

Telus even formally launched formal 5G wireless-to-the-home trials with Huawei, a mere 11 days before Huawei revealed the Balong 5G01, a 5G fixed wireless modem that will power wireless-to-the-home services.

Finally, Canada’s second-largest carrier Bell has remained tight-lipped about its 5G efforts.

Bell previously disclosed information about its 5G efforts with Huawei during the carrier’s Q3 2017 earnings report.

Bell has said that it’s conducting 5G experiments in the 28GHz and 3.5GHz bands.

In spite of its lack of public disclosure, Bell was technically the first Canadian carrier to successfully conduct a 5G trial, which it announced in July 2016.

Additionally, Ericsson, Ciena, Thales, IBM Canada and CGI announced a $400 million partnership in March 2018 aimed at establishing Canada’s first pre-commercial 5G corridor between Quebec and Ontario.

Source: PCMag, Sprint