HMD Global is planning to release an affordable 5G Nokia smartphone in 2020. Speaking to Digital Trends, the company's chief product officer Juho Sarvikas said that the price of the handset will be half that of most 5G-enabled handsets retailing in the market right now. While no exact date has been announced, we can expect the 5G Nokia smartphone during the next year's Mobile World Congress as that's when the company typically makes important announcements.
Although there are a couple of affordable 5G-ready handsets in the market right now, the full-fledged ones cost north of a thousand bucks. For instance, the Moto Z3 and Moto Z4 can offer 5G connectivity only when they are connected to the 5G Moto Mod, which is not really an ideal solution. Even then, the Moto Z3 usually costs $800, which isn't really that affordable. Another option is the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G, which is an updated version of the Mi Mix 3. It costs around $664.
A relatively inexpensive 5G handset made from the ground up to support the next generation of wireless connectivity can be a game-changer. As mentioned before, the handful of true 5G handsets that are on the market right now cost around $1,000 or more, such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, and LG V50 ThinQ 5G.
This means that the affordable 5G Nokia smartphone will cost anywhere between $500 and $600.This will enable more people to get their hands on a 5G-enabled handset. As more carriers around the world are expected to roll out 5G networks with the passage of time, value 5G handsets can play a huge role to drive up the adoption rate.
HMD Global is currently working with silicon vendors and Nokia to develop the phone. It has also entered talks with U.S. carriers to bring the handset stateside. Unlike 4G smartphones, 5G ones are not interoperable which means they are locked to carries. This means the 5G Nokia smartphone will also likely be tied down to different carriers.
Before the budget 5G handset, HMD Global is expected to reveal a 5G variant of the Nokia 9 PureView. The phone will apparently be called Nokia 9.1 PureView and it will inherit the phone's multi-camera array while improving on software optimization for better imaging performance. The phone is also expected to swap out the Snapdragon 845 SoC with the Snapdragon 855 chipset. It will reportedly ship with Android 10 Q.
As good as an affordable 5G handset sounds, HMD Global is certainly not the only company planning to bring the next generation of cellular connectivity to the masses. Huawei and chipmaker MediaTek are currently working together to make a relatively inexpensive 5G smartphone. Previously, the Chinese company's sub-brand Honor had also promised an affordable 5G handset by the end of the year. Of course, these handsets will not be making it to the U.S. most likely. Similarly, Samsung and Xiaomi's spin-off brand Redmi are also planning to release mid-range 5G handsets. Thus, unless the upcoming 5G handset from HMD Global differentiates itself from other affordable offerings, the low price point might not help much.