Huawei and OnePlus are in a race to launch the first 5G smartphone. Huawei, ahead of Apple for global smartphone shipments in the past two quarters and the first manufacturer to introduce in-screen fingerprint sensors and reverse wireless charging, has announced that it’s launch will take place at the Mobile World Congress next year. OnePlus claims it’s 5G handset will be the first in Europe, released in the first half of 2019. Currently, the two Chinese manufacturers are the only vendors to provide a timescale.
“We plan to launch our 5G commercial product at MWC in 2019. This year, we launched our own 5G chipset; next year, we will go further with a phone. We are currently testing it ahead of that.” – Huawei Western Europe president, Walter Ji.
In the run-up to 5G, EE has made the bold claim that it will be the first operator in the UK to launch the technology, announcing plans for a 16-city 5G rollout across the UK in 2019, including London, Edinburgh and Belfast. At the Eco-Connect event, Huawei also announced that its Huawei Assistant and Huawei Pay services will arrive in Europe in the new year. Huawei Assistant, a virtual AI assistant, is already live for over 300 million users in China and aims to give users a more intelligent service. The Huawei Pay deal follows an extension of the Visa agreement between both parties, with Huawei looking to replace the physical credit card with a simplified digital ID.