We've been hearing about the advantages of 5G's high speed wireless data connections for years now, but if you have a 5G capable phone, you probably rarely see significant speed boosts and you may not even know why you would want higher bandwidth. Now AT&T has some new use-case scenarios that will give you a better idea of what 5G will be useful for in the future.
2021 looks like the year when 5G phones truly transcend price barriers and make their way into the hands of budget shoppers as well. While Chinese brands such as Realme and Xiaomi have launched 5G-ready phones that cost as little as $200 in the past few months, Samsung will also join the list this year. And not surprisingly, we already have a massive leak that shows off the company’s upcoming dirt-cheap 5G phone – the Galaxy A22.
Leakster Steve H. aka @OnLeaks (via Voice) has shared some detailed renders and a 360-degree video of the Galaxy A22 5G that gives us a clear look at it from all sides. The leakster mentions that the Galaxy A22 will be Samsung’s cheapest 5G phone, but there is no word on how much it will cost. Being a budget phone, the build is plastic, of course, and some pretty thick bezels to feast your eyes upon. The fingerprint sensor has been integrated into the power button, and there is a 3.5mm headphone jack as well.
Over at the front, the Galaxy A22 5G offers a 6.5-inch display with a V-shaped notch, a design language Samsung proudly calls Infinity-V. There’s no word on the resolution figures and other parameters such as brightness, but neither would be high enough to singe your retina given the price bracket it falls under. Samsung appears to have omitted the more modern hole-punch design as a cost-cutting measure here, but that’s not really where the true appeal of the device lies. Remember the whole ‘cheapest 5G phone’ hoopla?
There are three cameras at the back, but again, we don’t know how many pixels have been crammed on the sensor behind each lens. The lenses are surrounded by a square camera bump with rounded corners, and at first sight, it looks like Samsung has taken some inspiration from the Google Pixel 4a 5G here. Unfortunately, details about innards such as the processor powering it, battery capacity, and camera hardware are still under the covers, nor do we know about an expected price or official launch date.
The OnePlus 9 series has proved to be a major evolution for the company, especially in the camera department – an aspect that has long been a chink in the armor of its phones. However, the rest of the package is pretty impressive too. Both the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro pack a beautiful 120Hz AMOLED display, support blazing-fast 65W charging (an impressive 50W charging in case of the OnePlus 9 Pro), appealing design, and a well-received OxygenOS software that offers deep customization tricks. And yes, just like every other 2021 flagship, the OnePlus 9 series supports 5G.
5G situation is a bit tricky
Being a bonafide flagship with critical acclaim and positive reception among existing users, you would expect the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro to be 5G compatible with all carriers. However, here in the US, the situation is a tad tricky. Until last week, T-Mobile was the only carrier that offered 5G support for the OnePlus 9 duo. However, Verizon finally certified the OnePlus 9 and its Pro sibling last week to latch on to its 5G network.
However, if you have an AT&T line and want to upgrade to a OnePlus 9 series phone, you’re out of luck. Right now, the two OnePlus flagships don’t haven’t been certified to use AT&T’s 5G network. And so far, the carrier hasn’t made any official announcement if the status is going to change anytime soon. However, if you’re okay with paying the 5G tax, then you can surely go ahead and enjoy AT&T’s 4G LTE network on either the OnePlus 9 or the OnePlus 9 Pro.
But wait, there is one more caveat
You see, only the OnePlus 9 Pro supports mmWave 5G, while the vanilla OnePlus 9 is limited to the slower Sub-6GHz 5G network. So, if you’re a Big Red customer, you will only be able to enjoy the blazing-fast Verizon UW (Ultra Wideband) 5G if you shell out a handsome asking price of $1,069 for the OnePlus 9 Pro.
However, if you save some cash and get the OnePlus 9, you will be limited to using Verizon’s more widely available but slower Nationwide 5G network, which relies on spectrum sharing with its existing 4G bands. However, the speeds you get will be significantly slower compared to the UW 5G. In fact, tests have proved that Verizon’s 4G LTE network can outpace its Nationwide 5G, which is kinda ironic.
It is no secret that the US trade sanctions have had a serious impact on HUAWEI’s smartphone business. En route to global smartphone dominance not too long ago, the company is now struggling in its own home market, and a key reason for the lost market share was the inability to sell 5G phones across different price brackets in a market where 5G phones sold more than 4G devices last quarter. Reeling from the lost revenue. HUAWEI has now announced that it will charge smartphone makers a royalty fee for accessing its 5G patents.
“For every multi-mode 5G smartphone, Huawei will provide a reasonable percentage royalty rate of the handset selling price, and a per-unit royalty cap at US$2.5.”
In an official press release, HUAWEI says that it will charge a royalty fee of $2.5 per device to smartphone makers for accessing its 5G patents. Jason Ding, Head of Huawei’s Intellectual Property Rights Department, estimates that the company will make somewhere in the ballpark of $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion between 2019 and 2021 by licensing its patents. However, what share of it comes from 5G SEP (Standard Essential Patent) has not been revealed.
HUAWEI has the largest collection of 5G patents in the world, far ahead of rivals such as Nokia, Qualcomm, and Ericsson. But compared to the aforementioned companies, HUAWEI is charging the lowest 5G patent licensing fee, over 40% less than Nokia and almost a third of what Qualcomm asked for.
While the 5G patent licensing fee has been set at $2.5 for smartphones, the company will put negotiable rates on the table for other classes of equipment, ranging from cars to home appliances. The company says it aims to bolster the adoption of 5G by charging a ‘reasonable’ fee. But in the hindsight, the strategy can prove to be a critical source of revenue for the company which has been hit by US sanctions, with the pandemic further adding to the woes.
What are these 5G patents?
In simple words, when a new generation of cellular connectivity is being developed, standards are created that allow phones to latch on these networks and enable global interoperability. When the standards are being set, companies like Qualcomm, HUAWEI, and Ericsson participate in the process and also come up with new technologies that they can patent in their name.
These patents form a critical component of how these next-generation cellular connectivity standards – 5G in this case – will work. And that’s why they get their name – SEPs, which is short for Standard Essential Patents. HUAWEI is licensing its 5G SEPs for use in smartphones made by the likes of Apple and Samsung, in exchange for a royalty fee.
Where does HUAWEI stand in the 5G race?
As mentioned above, HUAWEI is the leading name when it comes to the number of 5G patents, and by a big margin. As per technology research and intelligence firm GreyB, HUAWEI had 3,000 declared 5G patent families as of March 2021. It is followed by Samsung (2,317 patent families) and LG (2,147 patent families), with Nokia, Ericsson, and Qualcomm sitting below it. Together, these six companies own 65% of the declared 5G Standard Essential Patent families, while the rest 35% is shared by roughly 70 companies.
“Huawei has been the largest technical contributor to 5G standards, and follows fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) principles when it comes to patent licensing. we hope that the royalty rate we announced today will increase 5G adoption by giving 5G implementers a more transparent cost structure that will inform their investment decisions moving forward,” Deng was quoted as saying.
And in just you’re wondering, the royalty fee charged by HUAWEI for its SEPs won’t likely contradict with terms of trade restrictions that were imposed after HUAWEI was blacklisted and put on the ‘Entity List’ for allegedly being a national security threat. As per a report by Bloomberg, HUAWEI executives have made it clear that those 5G patents are publicly available, which means they don’t necessarily qualify as US-based companies doing business – sale/purchase of products/services – with HUAWEI.
HUAWEI’s access to 5G components just got even more difficult, thanks in no part to tighter restrictions imposed by the US government. The Joe Biden administration has made some changes to the existing licenses that allowed companies to trade with HUAWEI and has informed the suppliers about tighter restrictions that prohibit the sale of components used in 5G devices. The changes have already been put into place, and they might severely impact the licensing terms agreed upon by the previous administration.
“The rules create a more explicit prohibition on the export of components like semiconductors, antennas, and batteries for Huawei 5G devices, making the ban more uniform among licensees,” says a report by Bloomberg. As per another report by Reuters, the items that are covered under the amended licensing rules can’t be used “with or in any 5G devices,” an umbrella term that covers everything from smartphones to networking equipment.
Back in December, US lawmakers even backed a $1.9 billion fund to remove telecom equipment from HUAWEI and ZTE from the country’s networking infrastructure. The decision was made over risks of espionage posed by HUAWEI’s telecom equipment. US officials have argued that HUAWEI’s telecom gear can be exploited for state-sponsored theft of corporate secrets, content censorship, and even tracking dissidents of the Chinese government, per a CNBCreport. HUAWEI has categorically denied those allegations.
“U.S. officials say Huawei Technologies Co. can covertly access mobile-phone networks around the world through “back doors” designed for use by law enforcement, as Washington tries to persuade allies to exclude the Chinese company from their networks. Intelligence shows Huawei has had this secret capability for more than a decade, U.S. officials said,” TheWallStreetJournalreported back in February last year.
As per Counterpoint Research, 65% of all phones sold in Q4 2020 in China were 5G-ready. And it goes without saying that launching flagship phones that cost north of a thousand dollars in value and lacking 5G is a recipe for disaster in 2021, especially in a market like China.
While phones lacking GMS access aren’t an issue for buyers in the Chinese market, they become a lot less desirable for smartphone users in other markets where these Google services are an integral part of day-to-day mobile usage. Losing access to these Google services has already reduced the appeal of HUAWEI phones in some key markets such as India, Europe, and Latin America – and the situation will continue to deteriorate.
However, the challenges are immense, especially when it comes to competing against established names such as Google and Apple, both of which are rapidly diversifying the scope of their services to cover more product categories than just mobile and computing hardware and have ambitions of becoming major players in other segments such as automobiles and smart home devices to name a few.
Coming back to smartphones, HUAWEI was a force to reckon in the industry until recently – toppling Apple and breathing down Samsung’s neck for the crown. But with the fresh restrictions that further impede HUAWEI’s ability to source 5G hardware, chances of bouncing back to the big league on a global appear slimmer. 5G is going to be a key growth driver in the smartphone industry moving forward, and right now, HUAWEI stands at a juncture where things appear more gloomy than ever before.
Verizon switched on its Nationwide 5G network for around 200 million users in October just in time for the iPhone 12’s arrival. And a month later in December, the carrier expanded the coverage to 230 million users. Now, Verizon’s Nationwide 5G essentially plays second fiddle to its much faster Ultra Wideband (UWB) 5G network that relies on the mmWave spectrum, while the Nationwide 5G runs on lower spectrum bands. Actually, Verizon’s Nationwide 5G relies on a technology called Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) to piggyback on the 4G spectrum in areas where 5G Ultra Wideband coverage is not available. But in real-life tests, Verizon’s Nationwide 5G has been found to be slower than its 4G LTE coverage.
As per tests conducted by PCMag’s Sascha Segan using the iPhone 12 Pro in the New York area, the 5G data transfer speeds recorded on Verizon’s DSS Nationwide 5G network were slower compared to Verizon’s own 4G LTE network. Yes, Verizon’s 4G is faster than its low-spectrum 5G network that covers over 230 million people in more than 2,700 cities. “Our most recent tests, using an iPhone 12 Pro in New York City, show that DSS 5G is frequently slower than 4G, and rarely faster,” the report says.
Tests conducted using the OnePlus 8 on Verizon’s DSS 5G network and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE on Big Red’s 4G network again proved that Verizon’s 4G LTE fares better than 5G when it comes to downlink speeds. Switching between 4G and DSS 5G on the same device – which happens to be the iPhone 12 Pro in this case – returned the same results. Just to make it clear, the mmWave-based UWB 5G offers much faster speeds, but it has very limited coverage and suffers from penetration issues. The sub-6GHz 5G band, on the other hand, sacrifices raw speeds in favor of wider coverage and more stable network reception.
“I took the iPhone 12 Pro to eight locations around New York City, where I compared 4G and 5G speeds. At the first seven locations, the 5G was DSS and generally slower than 4G,” adds the report. “DSS is supposed to have lower latency, but many of our DSS 5G tests even had slightly higher latency (by a few milliseconds) than our LTE tests.”
When asked about the findings, Verizon issued a standard boilerplate response about how things will improve in the months to come. “For most customers, performance on our 5G nationwide network will be similar to 4G. [DSS] is new technology and we’re continuing to modify it as we go. We expect performance improvement through 2021 and beyond,” a Verizon spokesperson was quoted as saying by PCMag.
We are getting closer to 2021, and that means that we are also starting to get more rumors about upcoming devices. Now, the latest rumor claims that we could get up to four new foldable phones from Samsung, two of which would fall under the Z Fold line, while the other two would be Z Flip models. The report doesn’t stop there, as it also suggests that Samsung is also planning to discontinue its Galaxy Note lineup, as it would be replaced by the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which would feature S Pen support.
“The Note series will be discontinued eventually. The company also plans to include a pen input feature to Galaxy Z Fold3. As the Note series will no longer be different compared to other Samsung smartphones, it is reported that Samsung Electronics has not set a specific plan for new Note series.”
Rumors also suggest that the higher-end Galaxy Z Fold 3 of the new foldable phones will feature S Pen support, but we would have to wait until the second half of 2021 to see them since this would give the new Galaxy S21 series enough breathing space. The new foldables would also feature 5G support, and they are expected to begin mass production sometime in August.
Now, the report also claims that Samsung may also be working to deliver a new rollable device late in 2021 or in 2022, even though they won’t be the first company to give us a rollable smartphone, as we are already expecting LG to give us its new rollable device sometime in the first half of 2021 as part of the company’s explorer project.
Apple’s latest iPhone 12 lineup has arrived with more bugs than we could’ve expected. Of course, most of them have been ironed out with software updates, but it seems that we have a new issue that’s now affecting the device’s LTE and 5G connectivity.
However, it seems that another problem has been affecting the iPhone 12 lineup, and it has to do with the phones dropping LTE and 5G services while users are on the move. User joxesCA posted about his issue on Apple’s forums back in October, and the post has generated more than 500 replies claiming to have similar issues.
Received my iPhone 12 Pro on Friday. Activated it on Saturday. Sunday I drove for 10 mns and when I arrive to my destination I saw no reception bars and No Service. And in the middle of the screen in a grey box: Your iPhone is not Activated.
The only way to get the connection back was to toggle Airplane mode to ON then OFF.
The iPhone had the cellular mode to 5G Auto. I switched it to LTE to test. And it was the same.
So I resetted the network settings: same issue and I resetted the iPhone as a new iPhone and reinstalled everything from scratch (not from a saved backup): same issue.
I drove my car and found the exact location where the phone lost the network. If the phone lost the network it means I reach the end of the coverage area from a certain antenna. It looks like something happened with the phone when I reach a zone covered by a new antenna.
I called my operator and they told me that everything is good on their end and I have the right SIM card for a 5G device.
I called the Apple Tech Support and they remotely installed on my phone two profiles:
– Baseband and Telephony Logging
– CFNetwork Diagnostics
I was able to replicate the issue after talking to the Apple Tech and I was able to submit the report.
I pushed a little bit the research and I found on Reddit a lot of people talking about the same issue not only on Verizon (my carrier) but also on AT&T. Just use the title I typed and you will find the article.
I never had such issue with the 11pro.
The iPhone 12 issue has also been reported on Reddit, and it has generated more than 400 comments. It also seems that devices on Verizon and AT&T are the ones being affected the most, with a couple of cases from T-Mobile. On a positive note, Redditor Professional_Title mentioned that Verizon’s executive relations team is already aware of the problem.
“EDIT 6 (11/9): I did end up getting a phone call from executive relations who confirmed with me the issue I was having and also confirmed that they have no open alerts about the issue on the front end. She then said that she would be contacting their backend executive team and will be calling me back in 24-48 hours about the results on the investigation. Hopefully this leads them to let support reps know there’s a problem, as that’s the most frustrating part for me.”
Now, we only have to wait until Apple figures out what’s wrong with its iPhone 12 lineup to get a solution.
Pre-orders for the latest iPhone 12 and 12 Pro started last Friday, and they are scheduled to be delivered this upcoming Friday. However, we have seen a couple of these devices in action. As a matter of fact, the latest video features a teardown of the new iPhone 12 to show us everything that’s coming included inside this new device.
A new teardown video of the iPhone 12 is now live. This video shows us that there are a few important differences between the latest iPhone lineup and its predecessor. The new device has an L-shaped logic board, which resembles a previous leak, even though it’s not identical, meaning that the previously leaked logic board may be from another iPhone 12 variant.
This new logic board is longer than the one found in the iPhone 11 series, and its new shape also differs from the previous straight design. We also find a 2,815mAh battery, which confirms that the iPhone 11 has a higher capacity, with a 3,110mAh battery. Now, that won’t seem to be a real issue here, as the latest Apple A14 Bionic chip is supposed to be more power-efficient.
The reason behind the smaller battery could be because of the extra space required for 5G components, and here’s where we find the issue, as 5G drains the iPhone’s battery 20 percent faster than when it’s working on 4G networks. This information was provided by the guys at Tom’s Guide, as they performed battery tests on their iPhone 12 devices, with results that weren’t great.
“Compared to the Android competition, Apple’s new phones are a step behind those devices on our best phone battery life list, especially over 5G networks. Overall, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro battery life is a bummer over 5G, at least when surfing the web. So you may want to manually switch to 4G in some cases to save extra juice”
So, in the end, this may be the real reason why Apple included the new “Smart Data Mode” in the new iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, as this new model will automatically turn off 5G to keep your battery from dying faster than it would on 4G networks. Remember that you can also choose to manually turn off 5G on your new iPhone to boost battery life.