5G is the next big thing in mobile technology, but right now it comes at a high price from mobile carriers, has limited availability, and is tied to expensive smartphones 5G phones.
The good news is that Nokia brand phone-maker HMD Global has plans to change one aspect of that equation with a more affordable 5G smartphone, Digital Trends (opens in new tab) reports.
"We see a particular opportunity for us in bringing 5G to a more affordable segment as we enter the market," according to HMD Global Chief Product Officer Juho Sarvikas. He then mentioned an aim to offer a phone at around half the price of what 5G devices currently cost.
Specifically, Sarvikas said, "I would love to see us at half of the price where you have 5G today.” That phone will have a launch date in 2020.
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The 5G market today
A 5G-ready Nokia phone that's half the price of current 5G phones could still be fairly expensive. Right now, it's almost exclusively premium devices that get the 5G treatment, and even then, it can be the premium versions of those premium version.
For instance, Samsung Galaxy S10 and Note 10 families both have a 5G variant, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is like an upgraded S10 Plus, and its $1,299/£1099/AU$1,850 price fits. The Note 10 didn't get a 5G variant, but the Note 10 Plus did, and that bumps the starting price up to $1,299/£1,099.
LG has a more affordable 5G phone in the LG V50 ThinQ, but it still hits a hefty $999 (about £820, AU$1,445) price point. And, the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G is hard to compare since it's been exclusive to one carrier.
If HMD Global can release a 5G phone at half the price of these competitors, it would make the new networking standard more accessible to many more people.
Come 2020, the 5G Nokia phone might not be the only affordable option, though. There are rumors that Samsung has an affordable 5G phone in the works, and other manufacturers like Oppo and Xiaomi in the race as well.
Motorola also has a claim to affordable 5G with the 5G Moto Mod paired with a Moto Z3 or Moto Z4, but the bulky mod is far from an elegant solution.
More details on a 5G Nokia phone are likely to surface in the coming months, and we could see a debut at MWC next year.