While speaking at MWC Shanghai today, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has revealed that his company might launch a 5G-ready smartphone in 2019. He made the announcement during his keynote address at the trade summit, which is taking place in Shanghai, China from 27-29 June. While we can assume that the device which will sport 5G connectivity will be the OnePlus 7 which launches in mid-2019, it could even come later in the year on the OnePlus 7T.
5G or 5th Generation is the next evolutionary form of mobile technology, allowing for higher data transfer speeds over wireless networks. While 5G is theoretically capable of speeds up to 20 gigabits per second, the actual speeds in practice are likely to be only about 50 percent faster than current commercially available 4G speeds. 5G roll-out will of course depend on network upgradation and new spectrum.
Mobile network operators around the world are said to be working on 5G deployment already, although devices are not yet being built to support it. Most of the world’s major operators currently offer 4G network, including key operators in India such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio. However, 5G is likely to be a major technological change in the next 3-4 years, and mobile phone manufacturers will start rolling out devices with support for the standards in the same timeframe.
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Given that 5G is realistically some time away from a global roll-out, OnePlus offering support on its 2019 devices might be innovation too early. However, 5G will expectedly roll out quicker in markets such as Europe and North America than in India, and OnePlus will likely want to have its devices ready for this well in advance. Meanwhile, as far as India is concerned, even if devices are 5G-ready by 2019, it’s unlikely that our network operators will be ready for it till much later.