IFA, held this week in Berlin, saw the introduction of a cheaper 5G phone from Samsung at a time the electronics giant has been releasing pricier products. Companies like Motorola and Nokia phone maker HMD vowed to introduce devices next year that cost less than most 5G phones today. Mobile chip giant Qualcomm said it will bring 5G to its cheaper Snapdrogan processors for phones next year, and chip rivals Samsung and Huawei updated their own 5G modems with integrated versions that typically bring down the cost.
5G is touted as a game changing technology, with the ability to dramatically boost the speed and coverage of wireless networks. It can run between 10 and 100 times faster than your typical 4G cellular connection today. And latency, the amount of time between when your phone pings the network and when it responds, is faster than what Wi-Fi provides.
Most of the world’s early 5G phones cost more than $1,000. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G and Galaxy Note 10 plus 5G retail for $1,300 which is $400 more than the 4G S10 and $200 more than the 4G Note 10 plus. Samsung also will sell a 5G version of the Galaxy fold that you can buy for the equivalent of $2000 in Korea. It’s not offering a 4G version there, but the US won’t get the 5G model. In the US, the 4G Galaxy Fold costs $1,980.
Most other 5G phones today are also pricey. LG V50 ThinQ costs $1,152 at Sprint and $1,000 at Verozon. The Oppo Reno 5G, which isn’t officially available in the US, costs about $1,030, when converted from its Australian price of AU$1,499. In the UK, it’s sold exclusively via monthly plans through EE, from £49 ($60).