Sprint and Verizon both recently started offering standalone GPS tracker devices that can report their exact position using cellular networks. AT&T already offers such a device. The devices use the new LTE Cat-M1 technology designed specifically for small, low-power devices that only need to transmit small amounts of data. Unlike Bluetooth-based tracking tiles, they do not need to be near the phone viewing the location, although the tracker device does need to be within the coverage area of the cellular network it's associated with. All of the tracker devices are roughly the size of a matchbook, are water-resistant, include Wi-Fi for enhanced location accuracy and efficiency, and have multi-day battery life. They are designed for tracking kids, pets, vehicles, and luggage, for example. Sprint's Tracker is made by Coolpad and features a light sensor and speaker. Its battery lasts 3-10 days and it's rated IP67 for dust and water. Sprint is charging $60 for the tracker and $5/month for service. The Verizon Smart Locator has battery life up to five days and an IP67 rating. Verizon charges $100 for the tracker with one year of free service, after which service is $3/month. AT&T offers the Samsung SmartThings Tracker, which has battery life up to one week and an IP68 rating. AT&T charges $100 for the tracker which includes one year of service. After the first year, service on the AT&T network is offered through Samsung, and runs $5/month or $50/year.
An Israeli company that supplies law enforcement agencies worldwide announced that the newest version of its tool to access locked phones can access almost any smartphone, including Apple devices running iOS 7-12.3 and most Android phones. The company, Cellebrite, promises that its new UFED Premium device offers nearly complete access to Apple devices and "flagship Samsung devices", as well as support for accessing the file system on "popular device models from Motorola, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi." The company boasts that its device lets law enforcement "Bypass or determine locks and perform a full file system extraction on any iOS device, or a physical extraction or full file system (File-Based Encryption) extraction on many high-end Android devices.... gain access to 3rd party app data, chat conversations, downloaded emails and email attachments, deleted content and more". Apple has added features to iOS in recent years to thwart this kind of access, and is rolling out iOS 13 this summer and fall.
Sprint will offer its second 5G phone — the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G — on June 21 for $1,300. Sprint is offering a $250 discount for customers who pre-order, which is available starting today. Customers choosing a Sprint Flex Lease will pay $40.28 per month after the $13.89/month credit from the $250 discount. The phone is available only in markets where Sprint has launched its 5G network, which currently includes Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Kansas City. 5G markets launching "in the coming weeks" are Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, DC. The S10 5G joins the LG V50 in Sprint's 5G phone lineup. Sprint also launched the new, mid-range Samsung Galaxy A50 today.
AT&T is launching its first 5G phone on June 17th, but only for business customers and a select group of developers. The company will offer the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G to customers on the new AT&T Business Unlimited Preferred plan, which includes 5G service. For a limited time, businesses can order the Galaxy S10 5G with 256 GB of storage through their AT&T account representatives for the discounted price of $1,000. The phone can access AT&T's mmWave 5G network, which is available today in "very limited parts" of 19 cities, with plans to reach parts of at least 30 cities. The phone cannot access 5G service at lower (sub-6 GHz) frequencies that AT&T has promised to launch by the end of the year. The company is also offering a group of developers a Galaxy S10 5G with free service through the end of the year.
Sprint's 5G network launches tomorrow in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Kansas City, as previously announced. In the coming weeks, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, DC will also gain 5G service. At that point, Sprint's 5G network will cover a total of 2,180 square miles and 11.5 million people, the largest 5G coverage area in the US by far. Sprint is using the 2.5 GHz frequency band (band 41) for its initial 5G network, which offers much better coverage and building penetration than the mmWave frequencies that Verizon and AT&T have launched 5G with so far. Sprint also uses band 41 for LTE, and its new Massive MIMO antennas are delivering 4G LTE and 5G NR simultaneously in band 41, with similar coverage for each technology. Sprint's 5G network in Dallas-Fort Worth covers approximately 575 square miles and 1.6 million people. In Houston, Sprint 5G covers approximately 165 square miles and 800,000 people. In Kansas City: 225 square miles and 625,000 people. In Atlanta: 150 square miles and 565,000 people. Sprint's first 5G phone is the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, which goes on sale tomorrow in cities with Sprint 5G service. Sprint will offer the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G later this summer.
Samsung has two new ultra-high-resolution image sensors for phone cameras, offering up to 64 megapixel resolution. The ISOCELL Bright GW1 operates in two modes: In bright light, it can produce a full 64-megapixel image. It can also utilize Tetracell pixel-merging (pixel binning) to combine four pixels into one, acting as 16-megapixel sensor with better low-light performance. The sensor also offers extended HDR and slow motion video up to full HD at 480 fps. A second offering, the ISOCELL Bright GM2, offers most of the same features in a 48-megapixel sensor (12 megapixel with pixel binning). The two sensor chips are currently sampling and are expected to be in mass production in the second half of this year.
Verizon has started accepting pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, its first phone with integrated 5G. The phone will hit stores on May 16th. Verizon will offer the S10 5G in the Samsung-announced configuration with 256 GB of storage for $1,300, plus a new option with 512 GB of storage for $1,400. (The S10 5G does not have a memory card slot to add storage.) Verizon has a limited-time exclusive on the S10 5G in the US, and will retain an exclusive on the Majestic Black color. Verizon will also offer the phone in Crown Silver. The company is offering several promo deals to those who pre-order the phone, including free 5G service (normally $10/month), free Samsung Galaxy Buds, and a Samsung Wireless Charging Battery Pack. In addition, customers can trade in an old phone for up to $450 in savings, and new customers switching to Verizon get a $200 prepaid MasterCard. The S10 5G is similar with the S10+, but with a larger screen, larger battery, and advanced depth cameras on the front and back. Verizon plans to offer 5G service in the downtown areas of over 30 major US cities by the end of the year. Chicago and Minneapolis have already launched, and Verizon announced the next 20 cities today. Because Verizon's initial 5G network uses the 28 GHz band in the mmWave range, it can offer very high speeds, but the range of each cell is limited to a few hundred feet and does not reach indoors well.
Verizon has announced a new list of 20 cities where it will offer 5G coverage in 2019. They are Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, Phoenix, Providence, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Washington DC. The company has already launched mobile 5G service in Chicago and Minneapolis. The company continues to promise 5G in "more than 30" US cities by the end of the year, leaving at least nine cities yet to be announced. Verizon offers 5G phone service with a Moto z3 + 5G Moto Mod. Its first phone with integrated 5G will be the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which became available for pre-order today, and hits stores on May 16th.
Samsung has successfully manufactured and is testing chips for future phones that use a cutting-edge 5nm process. These chips have smaller transistors, resulting in chips that are more power-efficient and/or faster than today's chips based on 7nm and larger processes. Samsung makes processor chips for itself, and has made processor chips for Qualcomm and Apple in the past. Samsung's memory chips are popular in high-end phones. Samsung expects the new 5nm chips to reach phones in 2020. Rival TMSC, which currently manufactures processor chips for Qualcomm and Apple, also started testing 5nm chips recently.
Samsung is delaying the debut of its Galaxy Fold smartphone until at least next month, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, since confirmed by Samsung. The folding-screen phone was set to go on sale this Friday, April 26th. Multiple reviewers have experienced serious failures of the folding screen after just a few days of using the phone.
The first production units of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, sent to some phone reviewers, are experiencing serious failures of the folding screen after very little use, and at an alarming rate. Units sent to The Verge and CNBC have failed after just a few days of normal use. The unit used by Dieter Bohn of The Verge developed a sharp bulge poking up into the screen from the hinge mechanism; it destroyed the screen. The unit sent to CNBC started flickering off on the left side. Two other reviewers accidentally destroyed the screen after attempting to peel off a layer that looks like a removable screen protector, and can be peeled off, but is not intended to be removed. The Verge's unit also developed small nicks in the protective film after just a few days. The folding phone is supposed to ship to consumers at the end of next week.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold will be on display and available for purchase on April 26th at AT&T, T-Mobile, Best Buy, and Samsung Experience Stores. T-Mobile will start accepting online orders the night before, at midnight ET / 9pm PT. Samsung will start accepting pre-orders tomorrow, April 12th, exclusively for people who have signed up to receive Galaxy Fold updates on samsung.com. Samsung also confirmed that the Galaxy S10 5G will launch in the US in May. Verizon has previously announced that it will be the first US carrier to offer the phone, with a period of exclusivity. AT&T also recently revealed that it will offer the S10 5G in the "spring", which implies that AT&T will launch the phone in June. Samsung says pre-orders for the S10 5G will start "soon".
The Samsung Galaxy A80 has a unique triple-camera module that normally faces rearward. but is motorized so it can can slide up from the metal frame and spin around to face forward, for selfie mode. Samsung announced the phone today and plans to launch it by the end of May. The camera design allows the 6.7-inch, full-HD, AMOLED display to cover the whole front without a notch. The camera module includes a 48-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel wide camera, and 3D depth camera. The 3D depth camera enables live focus (portrait effect) for video. The large 3,700 mAh battery can charge quickly with 25W charging. The fingerprint reader is built into the display. It comes with a generous 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, although it does not support memory cards. The A80 will be available in black, gold/pink and white/blue. Specific pricing and launch countries were not announced.
Samsung today published selected details of the new Galaxy A70, A40, A20, and A10 Android phones. These complement the Galaxy A30 and A50 the company announced a month ago. The A70 is the highest-end of the bunch. Although Samsung's A series is generally mid-range, the A10 is a decidedly entry-level model. It's not yet clear which models may come to the US, although the FCC has approved a version of the Galaxy A20 that's relatively friendly with the US networks. All of the new models have extra-tall displays with small centered notches and Android 9.0 (Pie).
- A70: Sports a large 6.7-inch AMOLED display with full-HD resolution and 20:9 aspect ratio. It also has 32-megapixel cameras on the front and back, additional wide and depth cameras on the back, a huge 4,500 mAh battery, 25W Super-Fast Charging, in-display fingerprint reader, 6 or 8 GB of RAM, and a "Glasstic" body like the A50.
- A40: A compact model around the size of the Galaxy S10e, it has a 5.9-inch AMOLED display with full-HD resolution and 19.5:9 ratio. It also sports a 25-megapixel selfie camera, 16-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel wide camera, 4 GB of RAM, 3,100 mAh battery, rear fingerprint reader, and a "Glasstic" body. (not pictured)
- A20: A more affordable model with a large display and battery. The AMOLED display measures 6.4 inches and has HD resolution. It has a 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging, 13 megapixel main camera with f/1.9 aperture, 5-megapixel wide camera, 3 GB of RAM, and a rear fingerprint reader.
- A10: The LCD display measures 6.2 inches and has HD resolution. The battery rates 3,400 mAh, the rear camera is 13-megapixel, and the selfie camera is 5-megapixel. It has 2 GB of RAM and a memory card slot. (not pictured)
Spotify comes pre-installed as the default music-streaming app on all Samsung Galaxy S10 series phones globally, and US models come with six free months of Spotify Premium. Phones eligible for the free-six-months offer will also include the Galaxy Fold and certain A-series models. To be eligible, customers must be new to Spotify Premium / Unlimited, having never paid for it or used a trial offer. Spotify is also integrated with Samsung's Bixby assistant, including content and recommendations on the Bixby home screen.
There's a special way you need to train the fancy new in-display fingerprint reader on the Samsung Galaxy S10. Some will get it right the first time, while others will be fooled by the misleading graphics during the training process. Do it wrong, and the phone will struggle to recognize your fingerprint. Get it right, and it's quite reliable. Our video explains the problem and shows you how to avoid it.
Samsung is going in a new direction with its A series of mid-range phones. Previous models married an understated but very premium design with popular features like Samsung Pay, with mid-range specs and prices. With the A30 and A50, Samsung is getting more adventurous with both the design and the features. They have dazzling prismatic finishes and surprising features like in-display fingerprint reader and 25-megapixel cameras. Now that everyone can make "premium" metal-and-glass designs at almost any price point, Samsung is experimenting with a material it calls "Glasstic" for the back. How is it? We checked 'em out.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G might as well be synonymous with 5G at the moment. Every major US carrier will offer it as one of their first 5G phones. It has almost everything the S10+ has, and more, including the hot new tech of 2019: ToF depth sensors, front and back. It's larger than the S10+. There are a few things you should know about it, though, and a few things that surprised me when I finally got my hands on it. Read on for full first impressions.
The Galaxy S10 isn't Samsung's only new phone with an in-display fingerprint reader; the Galaxy A50 also has this new technology. Samsung announced two new A-series phones today: the Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A30. Both phones appear similar on the outside, and in fact have the exact same 6.4-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED display with small notch, same dimensions, and same 4,000 mAh battery. Both phones also have 15W fast charging, dedicated wide-angle camera on the back, Samsung Pay, memory card slot, and a shiny "3D Glasstic" back.
- Galaxy A50: Has an in-display fingerprint reader, 25-megapixel main cameras on both sides, an extra depth camera on the back, and 4-6 GB of RAM. Available in Black, White, Blue, and Coral, all with a prismatic finish.
- Galaxy A30: Has a standard fingerprint reader on the back, 16-megapixel main cameras on both sides, and 3-4 GB of RAM. (not shown)
Sprint today released new details of the 5G network it will launch this May and June. Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Kansas City will launch in May, while New York City, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Phoenix, and Houston will launch in June. The NYC, LA, and Phoenix networks will each cover over 1 million people. Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Kansas City will all launch with over 100 square miles of 5G coverage, up to 270 square miles for the Phoenix area. The LA network will cover from downtown to the coast, The NYC network will cover most of Manhattan, La Guardia airport, and JFK airport. Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung are providing the network equipment. Sprint's first 5G phone will be the LG V50 ThinQ, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G in the summer.
TCL Communication — the company behind Alcatel and BlackBerry phones — is planning to launch one or more foldable phones with a flexible display in 2020, and showed off several of its current concepts at the MWC trade show this week. The company has been actively working on the project for a couple of years already, the result of which is a proprietary, patented hinge design that the company calls DragonHinge. A TCL sister company manufactures the custom flexible AMOLED display. A TCL spokesperson said the company aims to make its foldable phones more affordable than competitors like the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The company also hinted that it's considering launching its foldable phone(s) under the TCL brand, or a new brand, instead of the Alcatel brand which is associated with less-expensive models. Several concepts were displayed, including tablet-style devices — both with and without an outer display — and phones that look like a tall smartphone but fold in half like an old clamshell phone, leaving a small strip of display exposed for notifications. The company is exploring additional new form factors as well, using the same hinge and display technologies.
Samsung's newest software will allow the controversial Bixby button on its phones to activate a custom action instead of Bixby. The change will be available on new S10 phones as well as older S9, S8, and Note phones.
By the end of this year, AT&T's 5G network will use sub-6 GHz radio bands to achieve broad coverage. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G announced today won't be able to access that part of AT&T's 5G network; it can only access mmWave spectrum being launched only in dense urban areas. AT&T and Samsung are working on a second 5G phone that will be able to access the whole 5G network, to be available by the end of this year. AT&T's press release reads: "In addition to the Galaxy S10 5G, we previously announced that we're working with Samsung to make another 5G smartphone available in the second half of this year. This smartphone will be able to access 5G using sub-6 GHz spectrum broadly available later this year and nationwide in early 2020, as well as access 5G+ over mmWave in dense urban areas when available." Sprint and T-Mobile also plan to launch 5G networks in sub-6 GHz bands. Verizon has thus far only announced plans to launch 5G in mmWave bands, which cannot provide broad coverage.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 series covers a wide range of prices, from $750 up to $1,600 for the best S10+, the Ceramic edition with 12 GB RAM and 1 TB storage. Although Samsung initially announced pricing only for the lowest-memory configuration of each S10 model, US carriers have now revealed additional details and deals, including pricing for the high-memory configurations, and monthly payment options. The pricing of the Galaxy S10 series is remarkably consistent across all US carriers, with up-front pricing being identical, and monthly options working out to an even split of the up-front price across the full term of the payment plans, with no interest. Most carriers are also offering special deals for multiple phones and/or adding lines to existing plans. Read on for full details.
Samsung's new Galaxy Buds are 30% smaller than the Gear IconX they replace, and lighter as well, at just 5.6 grams each. These fully-wireless Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds have adaptive dual microphones that can use an outer microphone for your voice, or automatically switch to an inner microphone when there's excessive background noise. They also support Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, including voice commands that query and control the Buds themselves. The Buds offer 5 hours of calling or 6 hours of music on a single charge. The Buds themselves have a 58 mAh battery, while the charging case has its own 252 mAh battery. The included charging case supports USB-C and wireless charging, so it can charge from the back of the new Galaxy S10 using its Wireless PowerShare feature. The Galaxy Buds will be available March 8th for $129 in either black or white. Customers who pre-order a Galaxy S10 or S10+ will receive the Galaxy Buds for free, while supplies last.
The new Samsung Galaxy S10 isn't just one or two phones, but a series of four phones. We spent some time with the S10e, S10, S10+, and S10 5G. How much smaller is the S10e? What did they leave out to make it cheaper? How huge is the S10 5G? And does the whole lineup live up to the legacy of the Galaxy S line on its tenth anniversary? We have your answers.
The tenth edition of Samsung's Galaxy S series of flagship phones includes, for the first time, four different models spanning a range of sizes and price points. Samsung announced the Galaxy S10 series today at an event in San Francisco. In addition to the standard S10 and (larger) S10+ that mirror pervious years' offerings, Samsung also revealed a smaller, cheaper S10e, as well as the S10 5G, which is even larger than the S10+. All of the S10 models include the new, top-end Snapdragon 855 processor, Cat. 20 LTE, a new "Dynamic" AMOLED display with hole-punch design and HDR10+, and two-way wireless charging that can charge other phones or accessories. For photography, they all include the same 12-megapixel main camera as the S9 (with dual-pixel and dual-aperture technology), a 16-megapixel wide-angle camera, and a new 10-megapixel, auto-focus front camera that can record 4K video. All models keep the 3.5mm audio jack, as well as IP68 rating for water-resistance. Most S10 models (the S10e excluded) also have an ultrasonic fingerprint reader embedded in the display, a third camera on the back for telephoto shots, an Infinity Edge display that curves at the sides for thinner bezels, heart rate sensor, and a minimum of 8 GB of RAM / 128 GB built-in storage. The S10 5G also adds 3D depth cameras to both the front and back and 25W fast charging. The S10, S10e, and S10+ go on sale worldwide March 8th, with pre-orders available starting tonight at midnight Eastern time. Those models will be available in the US in Prism Black, Prism White, Prism Blue, and Flamingo Pink (which is based on Pantone's color of the year, Living Coral). Pricing will be the same unlocked and at all major US carriers: The S10e will start at $750, the S10 at $900, and the S10+ at $1,000. Variants with added memory will cost more. All four top US carriers will offer all four models. Those who pre-order the S10 or S10+ will receive a free set of Galaxy Buds fully wireless earbuds (normally $129). Samsung is also offering trade-in deals worth up to $550. The S10 5G will be available in the 2nd quarter, first with Verizon before the middle of the year, followed by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Spectrum, and Xfinity "at a later date this summer." Read on for more details.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy Fold, the company's first commercial phone with a flexible display that folds in half. Folded, it resembles a thick smartphone with 4.6-inch HD Super AMOLED display; unfolded, it approximates a tablet in size and form factor, with a 7.3" "Infinity Flex" Dynamic AMOLED display. App Continuity allows users to start an Android app on the outer screen, then open the phone and continue uninterrupted on the larger screen. The inner screen also supports up to three apps side-by-side. It's powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor with 12 GB of RAM, and comes with 512 GB of storage. It also supports UFS 3.0 for faster storage access. Its two batteries total 4,380 mAh, and it supports fast wireless and wired charging. It has six cameras and a fingerprint reader on the side. The camera arrays are the same as on the new Galaxy S10+, including standard, wide, and tele cameras on the back, plus 10 megapixel selfie cameras on both the front and inside. The 4G LTE version will go on sale April 26th for $1,980, and a 5G version will also be available. Both AT&T and T-Mobile will offer the Galaxy Fold in the second quarter of this year. The phone comes in Cosmos Black, Space Silver, Martian Green, and Astro Blue, with choice of hinge color for further personalization.
A television ad for the unannounced Samsung Galaxy S10 has aired in Norway, and it confirms several of the key features of the device. The ad clearly shows an ultrasonic fingerprint reader, "hole-punch" display, three rear cameras, and reverse wireless charging that can charge new wireless earbuds.
Samsung has a new storage chip for phones that can hold twice as much data in the same space as last year's chip, and enables faster data access. The new embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) 2.1 chip can store 1 TB (1,000 GB) of data, in the same size as Samsung's 512 GB eUFS chip introduced in late 2017. 1 TB is enough for over 43 hours of 4K video. The new chip is also up to 38% faster at reading data, and up to 25% faster at writing, compared to Samsung's 512 GB chip. eUFS chips provide internal storage for phones, which is distinct from RAM and removable memory cards. If the past is any indication, Samsung will likely use the chip in its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S 10, which is slated to be announced on February 20th.
"Unlimited" Verizon 4G service is now available to anyone for $40/month through Visible, an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). The Verizon-backed company launched in May last year as an invite-only service for people bringing their own compatible iPhone. The company dropped the invitation requirement later in the year. As of today, the service is compatible with Android phones, and the company is selling new iPhone and Android phones. The initial Android selection is just the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. The 4G service is limited to 5 Mbps data speed, but all usage is otherwise unlimited. The company does not charge activation fees, SIM card kit fees, upgrade fees, nor restocking fees. The company now offers phone financing with no interest and no down payment, as well as phone insurance plans. Visible has no physical locations, offering activation, support, and all customer interactions via its app, now available for both iOS and in beta for Android.
Motorola will soon revive the RAZR brand for a pricey folding-screen phone for Verizon, the Wall Street Journal reports today. The phone is in testing but could launch as soon as February. The phone would cost roughly $1,500 and be exclusive to Verizon Wireless. Samsung has said it also plans to introduce a phone this year with a screen that bends, allowing the phone to fold in half. Motorola Mobility is owned by Lenovo. The original RAZR was a thin metal flip phone introduced in 2004. Motorola revived the RAZR brand in 2011 for a line of Droid phones that were also exclusive to Verizon. The new "foldable" RAZR has yet to be announced and no other details are available.
Samsung's next big launch event for a Galaxy-brand product will be February 20th in San Francisco. The company is teasing the event with a "10" and the Galaxy brand. Last year's flagships were the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note9, so the next version is logically the 10, and it will be the ten-year anniversary of the Galaxy S series in March.
Sprint joined the other top-tier US carriers in committing to sell Samsung's 5G phone next year. AT&T and Verizon have committed to offering the unnamed phone in the first half of next year. Sprint plans to launch the phone in "summer", which likely puts its launch after the other two carriers, although Sprint will offer a 5G phone from LG in the first half of the year. T-Mobile will offer the same Samsung phone, but has only committed to launching it some time in 2019. Sprint's version of the Samsung phone will access 5G in Sprint's 2.5 GHz radio frequency band, as well as 4G LTE in all of Sprint's usual bands. In the first half of 2019 Sprint plans to launch its mobile 5G network in nine cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., with additional markets to be announced.
President Donald Trump is weighing new action against Chinese telecommunications equipment makers Huawei and ZTE, says Reuters. The President might issue an executive order that would bar U.S. companies from buying telecom gear from either. Some in the U.S. government insist Huawei and ZTE have deep ties to the Chinese government. That relationship could give China the power to spy on the U.S., a claim Huawei has denied many times. Trump has been considering the executive order for more than eight months. The order would rely on the Department of Commerce to block equipment purchases from "foreign telecommunications makers that pose significant national security risks," say Reuters' sources. Huawei and ZTE themselves may not actually be named in the order. Such an order would hinge on the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the President power to govern commerce directly when a national emergency threatens the U.S. Trump has already barred the U.S. government itself from purchasing equipment from Huawei and ZTE. The four largest carriers mostly rely on equipment from Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung, but smaller, rural operators do use gear from Huawei and ZTE. They are worried the Trump administration will force them to rip out existing Chinese-made gear at their own expense. Reuters says Trump may issue the order as soon as January.
T-Mobile today said a 5G phone will be among its first mobile 5G devices, and that phone is the same Samsung device that AT&T and Verizon confirmed earlier this month. "That’s right," exclaimed Neville Ray, T-Mobile CFO, in a blog post. "T-Mobile is working on that phone too — and other 5G devices with other OEMs and chipset manufacturers. In fact, we expect to have multiple 5G devices — that will work across multiple spectrum bands — in 2019." Ray said that rather than focus on being the first to market with 5G, something he believes AT&T and Verizon are "hyperventilating" about, it will focus on "getting it right." Verizon kicked off fixed, non-standard 5G service in a handful of markets in October. AT&T's mobile, standards-based 5G services goes live December 21 with a mobile hotspot. T-Mobile has only specified that it will launch 5G in 2019. The company hopes for a much broader launch so it can deliver 5G to more people at once.
Samsung says it plans to stop making phones at its manufacturing plant in Tianjin, China. Samsung will close the factory entirely, laying off some 2,600 people by the end of the year. "As part of ongoing efforts to enhance efficiency in our production facilities, Samsung Electronics has arrived at the difficult decision to cease operations of Tianjin Samsung Electronics Telecommunication," said Samsung in a statement. The Tianjin plant is responsible for making about 36 million phones per year. Samsung's share of the Chinese market has sunk from 15% in 2013 to about 1% in 2018. Samsung's high-priced Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones have found steep competition from lower-cost devices from Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi, Meizu, and Huawei. Samsung will keep its plant in Huizhou, which makes about 72 million phones per year, operational. Samsung insists that China "remains an important market" for the company.
AT&T today said it plans to release a second 5G smartphone during the latter half of 2019. Samsung will make this new device for AT&T and, unlike the first 5G phone from AT&T, this second one will support 5G in both mmWave and sub-6 GHz bands. AT&T says it is still on track to launch mmWave mobile 5G before the end of 2018. It has been installing software upgradeable sub-6 GHz radios throughout 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019. AT&T didn't say when it intends to light up sub-6 GHz spectrum with 5G service. AT&T's mobile 5G network will only be available in a handful of cities to start and will grow over time.
AT&T today said it plans to sell a 5G smartphone from Samsung during the first half of 2019. The device is likely similar to, if not the same as, the mobile 5G device that Verizon recently said it will sell next year. The 5G phone from Samsung will join the 5G mobile hotspot already announced by AT&T. AT&T expects to sell the hotspot before the end of 2018. The company says it has installed mobile 5G network equipment in the 12 markets where it plans to kick off 5G this year. Those cities include Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio, and Waco. AT&T will expand its 5G service during the first half of 2019 to parts of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. AT&T is working with Samsung on what it calls a "manufacturing-focused 5G Innovation Zone." This testing ground will explore how robotic manufacturing can be improved with 5G.
Verizon Wireless and Samsung today said the companies are working together to bring a 5G phone to market during the first half of 2019. The pair said they'll show off a proof-of-concept device at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Tech Summit later this week. The device will rely on the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem and antenna modules, including the RF transceiver and RF front-end. Next year's mobile 5G networks will be many times faster than today's LTE 4G, with minimal latency. Verizon and Samsung have been working together on 5G for years on both the network and device sides. Verizon says its 5G mobile service will go live in "early 2019" and "expand rapidly." Verizon plans to use the brand "5G Ultra Wideband" for the network when it goes live. Verizon has already launched fixed 5G service in a handful of markets. The company hasn't made clear which will be the first of its mobile 5G networks.