BARCELONA – The global chief technology officer of Spanish telecom giant Telefonica said on Tuesday at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress 2018 that the first generation of 5G cell phones will be around $200-300 more expensive than their 4G counterparts.
5G is the developing fifth-generation wireless broadband technology designed to support faster mobile broadband speeds and increased mobile data usage, with an eye cast on enabling the full potential of the Internet of Things, such as enhanced virtual reality, autonomous cars, the industrial internet or the smart cities of the future.
“They (5G) are going to be more expensive, around $200, $300 more,” Enrique Blanco explained.
This new standard is set to guarantee the future of today’s most popular mobile applications, such as on-demand video, by ensuring its ever-growing appetite is sustainable.
Regarding the price increase, Blanco said it was due to the expensive 5G technology and additional infrastructure required by the new phones, which are also enabled to operate with 2G, 3G, and 4G legacy standards.
The new 5G terminals design will also rely extensively on screen technology capable of exploiting its potential user experience to the full, Blanco said.
He added that 5G mobiles would be available starting in 2019, although not for the mass market.
Telefonica’s top technical officer explained the 5G standard was not only a matter of faster, smarter phones for clients but also of ensuring both industry and society can unlock the IoT potential that is set to contribute to determining our society’s future.
“With 4G this is not feasible,” Blanco added.
5G is capable of supporting millions of connected wireless devices per square kilometer.
Blanco said Telefonica had worked on 5G standards for the past five years, not only defining the standard itself but ensuring its physical network will enjoy the required capacity.
The Telefonica executive said that – apart from Spain – his company was leading in the implementation of 5G tech in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Argentina, and continued the massive expansion of its bandwidth infrastructure, thus securing future technological deployments.