Qualcomm’s ambitious plans for 5G just took an important step forward.
A handful of smartphone makers are announcing plans to have 5G-ready phones by 2019. Among them: HTC, LG, Sony, and Oppo who will be among the first to adopt Qualcomm’s ultra-fast Snapdragon X50 modem.
In total, 19 manufacturers have signed on to make 5G-compatible devices using the X50 in 2019. For consumers, that means there will be at least a handful of 5G-enabled devices on the market next year, in time for the first rollout of commercial 5G networks.
On that front, Qualcomm also announced Thursday that 19 carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, will start testing 5G networks using the X50 modem next year.
Even so, 5G coverage still won’t be widespread anytime soon — most experts agree 2020 is the earliest it could happen — even though carriers are beginning to make progress. But the fact that so many hardware makers are willing to commit to Qualcomm’s 5G chips in 2019 is certainly a positive sign.
Put it all together and it’s a significant milestone on the long journey to 5G.
Qualcomm originally introduced the X50, which enables lightning-fast gigabit-speed connections, in 2016. At the time, the company said it hoped to have devices on the market by 2018, but that timing didn’t pan out.
But now that so many carriers and device makers have come on board, Qualcomm is now closer than ever to making its 5G plans a reality.