BRITS could soon be paying £100-a-month contracts, as experts warn over the price of 5G smartphones – due 2019.
The Sun spoke to several industry watchers who said 5G Apple and Samsung smartphones could cost £300 more than today’s top models.
5G is the “fifth generation” of mobile internet, offering “superfast” internet speeds that can download 4K movies in seconds.
Phone network EE has already committed to putting 5G internet in 16 UK cities in 2019.
But you’ll need 5G smartphones – also coming early next year – for the tech to work, and they won’t be cheap.
“We believe based on initial industry feedback that price points will be £100 to £300 higher depending on the model when they officially launch,” said industry expert Dan Ives, speaking to The Sun.
Ives, of Wedbush Securities, said: “5G will be a potential game changer in terms of speed and functionality, and we expect higher price points on the horizon when they hit the ground.”
Smartphones are now more expensive than ever, as companies struggle with the fact that customers are holding onto their blowers for longer.
This year, Apple released its priciest roster of iPhones yet.
The new iPhone XS, launched in September, will cost you anywhere from £999 to £1,449.
And the cheapest 2018 iPhone is the iPhone XR at £749 – pricier than last year’s £699 base model, the iPhone 8.
We spoke to industry expert Ben Wood, who thinks 5G smartphones will be more expensive still.
However, he reckons there’s a good chance the extra price will be hidden in phone contracts – because phone price tags are now so high.
He even warned of £100-a-month contracts becoming available on Britain’s high streets.
“We certainly expect a premium for 5G phones but it’s hard to put an exact figure on it at this point,” said Wood, of CCS Insight, speaking to The Sun.
“It is hard to believe that consumers are going to be willing to pay a £200+ premium for a device that looks largely similar to rival 4G devices and in many cases is slightly thicker with potentially less battery life.
“In the UK the likelihood is that the actual cost of the device will be hidden in contract deals but it would not surprise me at all to see tariff plans of £100 per month for the latest and greatest 5G phones in the middle of 2019.”
How fast is 5G internet?
Here’s what you need to know…
- 5G handsets will provide significantly faster internet speeds than modern handsets
- Some users will be able to download several gigabits of data every second
- At speeds of 1 gigabit-per-second, it would take eight seconds to download 1 gigabyte of data
- Netflix says 4K video takes up about 7 gigabytes of space per hour of footage
- So downloading an hour-and-a-half Netflix film in 4K to watch offline would require roughly 10GB of space
- With a 5G connection, that would take just 1 minute and 20 seconds
- And regular HD footage takes up about 3GB of footage per hour, so the same movie could be nabbed in High Definition roughly half the time
- Intel rival Qualcomm’s own 5G chip – the Snapdragon X50 – promises around 4.5 gigabits-per-second speeds, based on testing
- That could cut a 4K movie download down to around 20 seconds, if networks can beam those sorts of speeds to actual users
We’re expecting the first 5G smartphones to trickle out early next year – with some launches expected around Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress in February.
Samsung and OnePlus have both confirmed that they’ll release 5G-ready smartphones next year. In fact, OnePlus recently admitted that we could see a $300 premium for its 5G phone – in line with analyst predictions.
And Apple hasn’t spoken publicly, but several reports suggest we’ll see the first 5G iPhone as soon as 2020.
The prices will be higher because of a “combination of factors”, according to Ben Wood.
This includes the increased cost of components – like 5G modem chips – and the fact that new premium gadgets can command higher prices.
“Primarily it’s down to it being extremely complex technology. 5G phones require extra chips and special antenna arrays,” Wood told The Sun.
Dan Ives agreed, saying the price reflected the fact that superfast 5G phones would allow for “a whole new ecosystem of apps and services”.
“It’s a gateway launch product and consumers will need to pay for it,” he said.
Would you be willing to pay £200 to £300 more for a 5G smartphone? Let us know in the comments!
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