18 February 2019
Chinese smartphone and component maker ZTE has been facing a rough time over the last couple of years. The company has been accused of providing a backdoor to Chinese intelligence via its range of products and has also been banned from trade in the US and other countries. ZTE has stated that due to the ban on the sale of its products as well as the hefty fine levied by the US govt, it is going bankrupt.
The company has surprisingly officially announced that it is working to bring 5G smartphones to the market in the second half of 2019. The Chinese company announced that it will launch its first 5G phone in the first half of the year, and will start selling it in the second half. A new report has stated that ZTE has been testing the devices since last year and has been able to successfully complete a number of tests.
ZTE first started testing a 5G phone in April 2018, that was based on the 3GPP R15 standard. Reports state that the tests were conducted in Guangzhou, China. In October 2018, ZTE’s 5G phone sent a signal from the Shanghai R&D Centre to make the first 5G call. By Nov, the company has tested several calls, internet access, and WeChat on 5G. Its network has passed the test and received a green signal from the Chinese government.
ZTE believes that 5G will become widely adopted in 2019, and will allow users to download and stream UHD videos quickly. The technology could be used to improve services in several fields including transportation, office, gaming, education, medical, and others.
ZTE has also revealed that it will be launching several new flagship devices and mid-range phones this year. The ZTE Axon and the Blade will also receive upgrades this year. ZTE is also reportedly planning to re-enter the Indian smartphone market.
Apart from ZTE, Samsung, LG, Sony, and OnePlus are also planning to launch 5G smartphones in the first half of 2019. It will be interesting to see which will be the first device maker to launch a 5G phone!