OnePlus 5G smartphone will be expensive, won't offer ultimate 5G speeds
At Qualcomm's Snapdragon summit this year, 5G made a huge commercial debut with the next generation Snapdragon 855 chip natively supporting 5G networks. OnePlus took the opportunity to jump the queue and announced that they would be going ahead with one of the world's first 5G smartphones by early 2019. The announcement may have been delightful for fans of the brand who are used to value-for-money flagship grade smartphones from the company. However, in a later interview, it was revealed that their ambitious project to commercially roll out a 5G phone won't be following their success mantra.
In an interview to CNET, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed that their 5G smartphone would surely see the light of the day as early as the beginning of 2019. However, it won't be following OnePlus' pricing strategy, i.e. it will be pretty expensive. Pete confirmed that their 5G smartphone will be at least $200-$300 more expensive than the currently selling OnePlus 6T. This will be a completely different move for the brand as OnePlus has always been pricing their smartphones at extremely lower prices when compared to flagship offerings from rival brands.
Lau did state the reason for the huge bump in its price. "The new technology and the amount of R&D and new development that goes into 5G will inevitably mean the cost of the device is, to a significant degree, more expensive," said Lau at the Snapdragon summit. This means that their 5G smartphone will go head-to-head with the mainline flagships from Samsung, Apple and Google.
Being an early adopter of a fairly unproven technology also means OnePlus won't be able to offer the best of the new technology initially. While you may be factoring in the costs of setting up the 5G infrastructure with an inconsistent coverage, the phone itself won't be able to offer the peak promised speeds of 5Gbps. Lau said that their first 5G phone will feature two modems - a 4G modem and a 5G modem. Qualcomm's X50 5G modem does support the millimetre wave band but adds to the thickness of the device. This is something OnePlus doesn't want and hence is settling for a different arrangement, including both 4G and 5G modems on their 5G handset.
OnePlus' chosen modems won't be able to support the millimetre wave technology but will support the sub-6GHz bandwidth. This means that the OnePlus 5G smartphone will be able to reach peak download speeds of up to 500Mbps, which is extremely short of the 5Gbps threshold of the millimetre wave spectrum. However, OnePlus believes that antenna technologies will improve by the second half of 2019 and will aid the deployment of faster 5G devices that comply with the company's standards of smartphone design.
Therefore, the first 5G smartphone from OnePlus won't be what the company would have conceptualized. But, it does give Lau's engineers to learn the world of 5G mobile telephony and eventually figure out a way to achieve the millimetre wave 5G spectrum by the time they will be ready for their next mainstream flagship offering.