A 5G-ready Android smartphone from Samsung is “not so far,” SK Telecom Chief Technology Officer Park Jin-hyo said on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress earlier this week. The industry veteran confirmed Samsung has been committing significant resources to commercializing such a handset in recent times and is expecting to see it launched in the near future. The Seoul-based original equipment manufacturer has been extremely active in the global process of standardizing the fifth generation of mobile connectivity but is still mum on its plans for 5G-enabled handsets. The company arrived to the latest iteration of the Barcelona, Spain-based trade show to demonstrate a number of its 5G solutions in the networking equipment segment, some of which are expected to be commercialized by the end of the year.
Samsung is set to provide Verizon with 5G fixed wireless access technologies in the coming months as part of the wireless carrier’s next infrastructural push meant to help densify its network in preparation for the “real” 5G and also deliver a broadband competitor in select markets. Earlier this year, Sprint revealed it’s planning to retail a 5G-ready Android smartphone from a “leading Korean manufacturer,” with those remarks being strongly indicative of Samsung’s involvement. The tech giant was recently said to be working on 5G modems for handsets and has effectively confirmed such endeavors earlier this week by announcing a comprehensive 5G chip partnership with Qualcomm meant to enable the next generation of wireless technologies by leveraging the 7nm process node.
Samsung and SK Telecom are already collaborating on new wireless solutions, having demonstrated a virtual reality call powered by 5G at this year’s MWC. The wireless carrier’s CTO is hence understood to be familiar with Samsung’s 5G efforts beyond what the company publicly disclosed so far. The Galaxy S10 lineup that’s set to launch in early 2019 is widely expected to support 5G connectivity. The same series may also be partially rebranded but won’t move away from the Galaxy name, according to Samsung’s recent statement. Large-scale commercial 5G deployment is scheduled to start in 2019, with the United States, South Korea, and Japan positioning themselves as the leaders in the segment, albeit supported by a number of foreign companies such as Nokia, Ericsson, and Huawei.