Almost every manufacturer is working on a 5G smartphone, to be released within the next year. Almost every carrier is working on building the 5G network and deploying 5G solutions. However, 5G will initially bring some of the issues the industry has overcome in the past. Speaking at Mobile World Congress Americas last week, Gordon Mansfield, AT&T’s Vice President of radio networks and device design explains the situation.
5G smartphones, at least initially, will be closely tied or bound to carriers. We can all expect incompatibilities like those experienced in the early days of 4G. Smartphones back then were capable of operating on a specific carrier 4G frequency. “It’s not because there isn’t a desire and we don’t want to“, Mansfield said.
Verizon and T-Mobile are using 28GHz 5G. Because of that, T-Mobile will also employ 5G on the 600MHz band. AT&T’s service will operate at 39GHz. Incompatibilities will arise from the fact that, claims the report, so far nobody has managed to bundle these in a single package. Good news is that, “as an industry, that will be very quickly overcome; I don’t think the single band introduction from the millimeter-wave point of view will last very long”, Mansfield added.
If you’re bothered by the fact that first 5G smartphones will have a close, vital, carrier tie, maybe it is a good idea to skip first generation products and wait a little until the industry overcomes hurdles. Eventually, 5G smartphones will be just as compatible with carriers as they are today.