The mobile industry has been preparing for the shift to 5G for more than a year now and some operators are expected to begin consumer trials later this year. However, most smartphone makers have scheduled next year for the release of their 5G-ready phones. Huawei is one of them and has confirmed when it will release its first 5G phone.
Speaking at a forum today, vice-chairman and rotating CEO of Huawei, Hu Houkun revealed that the entire industry is ready for 5G to kickoff. He also announced that Huawei’s first 5G handset will be launched in mid-2019. This phone and others like it will be powered by the Kirin 980.
The Kirin 980 is the chipset that will power devices such as the Mate 20 series and the Honor Magic 2 but they will not have 5G support. That is because they will feature a different modem. Although this modem doesn’t bring 5G connectivity it is the first Cat. 21 modem in the world with download speeds of up to 1.4Gbps and support for carrier aggregation. Theoretically, the modem offers 4.5G connectivity.
However, by the time Huawei launches its first 5G phone next year, the Kirin 980 phones will feature a new 5G mobile baseband – the Balong 5000. The Balong 5000 was announced at IFA 2018 alongside the Kirin 980.
5G connectivity will bring faster connection speeds and more importantly, lower latency. 5G is also expected to bring connectivity to more devices such as VR headsets, smart cars, and a plethora of IoT devices.