Verizon, Samsung promise 5G smartphone for next year

Verizon announced a 5G smartphone pact with Samsung. (Mike Dano/FierceWireless)

Samsung and Verizon announced they will release a 5G smartphone sometime in the first half of next year. The phone will feature Qualcomm's Snapdragon Mobile Platform with the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem and antenna modules, along with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements.

That announcement dovetails with Verizon's promise that it will switch on a commercial mobile 5G network sometime in the first half of next year.

The announcement by the companies may point to a 5G-capable Galaxy S10 that would be exclusive to Verizon. According to a recent Yonhap News Agency article, Samsung reportedly plans to release its flagship Galaxy S10 smartphone in February, followed by the foldable Galaxy F and another edition of the Galaxy S10 that runs on the 5G network in March.

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A separate report from the Wall Street Journal indicated that Samsung hopes to reinvigorate interest in its Galaxy smartphone lineup with a major upgrade and design overhaul that will bring 5G network capabilities and as many as six cameras to the planned Galaxy S10 smartphone. The publication also reported that Samsung was in discussions with Verizon about a possible exclusive agreement for distribution in the United States.

Verizon and Samsung did not provide any further details about their planned 5G smartphone.

This is Verizon's second mobile 5G device announcement. The carrier in August said it would sell a Moto Mod that could connect to its forthcoming mobile 5G network; that Mod would be able to clip onto a Motorola smartphone and thus allow the device to connect to Verizon's 5G network.

Verizon isn't the only carrier making 5G device plans. Sprint said it will sell an LG smartphone next year, while AT&T has promised to sell the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot sometime this year; AT&T has promised to turn on a mobile 5G network in parts of a dozen cities by the end of this year.

Interestingly, Verizon and Samsung's announcement comes hours after Bloomberg reported that Apple won't release a 5G smartphone until 2020. 

Thus, Apple may be ceding the 5G market to Samsung for potentially a year or more, though it's unclear whether that will provide Samsung with any momentum against the iPhone maker—Apple has historically eschewed supporting new network technologies, at least initially.