People are buying 5G phones when they don’t even have 5G

qualcomm snapdragon 5g devices mwc 2019 phones moto z3
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Mobile carriers have touted 5G as the next giant leap in wireless communication and technology, with expectations to impact health care, transportation, and robotics to name a few. Despite the buzz and pending implications, 5G is only available in select cities, and typically in even more select areas of those cities. That hasn’t thwarted people from buying 5G phones, though.

A new report from global research firm, Counterpoint Technology Market Research, states that the majority of 5G smartphone sales in the month of May came from areas that currently don’t have 5G service.

“The top 10 cities [with 5G infrastructure] make up just one-third of all 5G smartphone sales in May,” Tom Kang, research director at Counterpoint.

Subverting expectations that 5G smartphone sales would be highest in the areas that support the service, the data shows people are ready for a 5G future and don’t want to be left behind when it comes — or they just want the latest and greatest.

5g phone sales without service counterpoint research ounterpoint
Counterpoint Research

Larger cities like Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles make up three out of the top five regions selling the most 5G phones. Chicago, a city which has a growing 5G presence, holds the largest single portion of 5G phone sales, while Atlanta, another 5G-capable area, rounds out the top five.

Almost every major phone manufacturer is expected to release 5G phones through 2019, with the exception of Apple. Counterpoint’s report predicts more than 5 million 5G smartphones will be sold in 2019, and notes this projection would be as much as 60% higher were Apple to release a 5G iPhone in 2019, which isn’t expected.

Before you go rushing out the door to buy your own blazing-fast 5G device, just keep in mind that network roll out from carriers is expected to take years, and the service will complement 4G LTE for the near future. As we noted in our tests on Verizon’s Moto Z3 with 5G Moto Mod, the LG V50 ThinQ on Sprint, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G on Verizon and T-Mobile, 5G delivers fast speeds, especially when using mmWave spectrum, but it also tends to suffer from poor range and penetration through cars and buildings.

AT&T and Verizon customers hoping for blanket 5G coverage will have to wait quite some time, as the technology being utilized will essentially require 5G nodes on every block. Sprint and T-Mobile customers may get more coverage sooner, due to their use of  mid-band and low-band frequencies, which offer more range and better building penetration but slower speeds.

We all want the future here now, but perhaps we could also save a few bucks until it gets here.

Mobile

Huawei’s blacklisted status contributes to more 5G decision delays in the U.K.

The decision over which companies will be involved in creating the U.K.’s burgeoning 5G network has been delayed again, and Huawei's presence on the U.S. Entity List is partly to blame.
Podcasts

Spaced Out: To the Moon and Beyond

Mobile technology is finally advancing out of the standard form we've become used to. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is one example of further innovation and possibly a redesign of how we communicate and interact with our devices. Will 5G…
Mobile

Samsung’s latest RAM chips can move data superfast on your next-gen smartphone

Samsung just announced its fastest RAM chips yet, boasting 44 GB/s transfer speeds with LPDDR5 technology on a 10-nm process. These 12-gigabyte monsters are meant to take 5G and A.I. to the next level on your next-gen smartphone.
Mobile

St. Paul, Minnesota, is the latest U.S. city to access Verizon's 5G network

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. Its mobile 5G network is now available in select areas of several cities such as Chicago and Denver. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network.
Mobile

Leak shows Android running on purported Nokia feature phone

A leaked image appears to show a Nokia feature phone running a modified version of Android, complete with Google Voice Search, YouTube, and all. This would be a market-changing collaboration between Google and HMD.
Mobile

The best Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus cases to protect your $1,000 phone

Can't get enough of big phones? The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is absolutely up your alley. But it's still fragile, and damage is easily gathered through normal life. Protect it with the best Galaxy S10 Plus cases.
Wearables

Whistle's new Go Explore tracker goes beyond GPS to monitor your pet's health

Whistle's latest line of pet trackers don't just track activity and GPS, but health trends as well. The Whistle Go and the Whistle Go Explore use research collected in a three-year span from more than 55,000 dogs.
Mobile

Apple’s iOS 12.4 brings back Walkie-Talkie, makes improvements to Apple News+

Apple has finally taken the wraps off of iOS 12.4, bringing a number of tweaks to Apple News+, plus the reinstatement of the Walkie-Talkie feature on the Apple Watch, which was disabled after the discovery of a security flaw.
Mobile

Apple is reportedly about to buy Intel’s modem business

According to a report, Apple could be buying out Intel's 5G modem business, which would give Apple at least some of the intellectual property and staff required to develop its own modems for iPhones.
Social Media

Facebook admits to Messenger Kids security flaw but insists it’s fixed

Facebook has confirmed it missed a flaw in its Messenger Kids app that meant children could have communicated with users who hadn’t been parent-approved. The firm says it has now fixed the issue and contacted those affected.
Mobile

Honor puts a shiny target on the back of its desirable new 9X phones

Honor has announced the Honor 9X and Honor 9X Pro. The two new phones have currently been unveiled only in China, but the company often goes on to release its new devices internationally, provided it can overcome some challenges.
Mobile

Huawei denies reports it is helping North Korea build its wireless network

Tensions between Chinese mobile giant Huawei and the U.S. are likely to rise even higher after the Washington Post reported the company has allegedly been secretly working with a Chinese state-owned firm to build and maintain North Korea's…
Mobile

Note 10 dummies give us our best look yet at Samsung’s controversial changes

There are a lot of changes planned for the Note 10 and Note 10 Pro, and some of the largest have been shown off in two new leaked dummies of the phones, including a new design, and the lack of a long-loved, fan-favorite feature.
Mobile

Will the Galaxy Note 10 have the latest Qualcomm processor? Rumors are split

The Samsung Galaxy S10 range isn't exactly old, but Samsung is already working on the next big release. Details about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 are making their way online, and we've gathered them all for you.