The fifth generation (5G) of mobile networks is just around the corner with many tech companies putting their efforts and investments to make it feasible. 2018 saw the first ever 5G smartphone mod where Motorola unveiled the first ever 5G-enabled smartphone which can be achieved using its 5G mod (which ain’t cheap). Then, Samsung and Qualcomm introduced their 5G modem as well as but let’s talk about Apple, the Cupertino-based tech giant, when is it going to unveil its 5G-enabled iPhone?
This June, a consortium of many tech companies including Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Huawei, etc, officially launched the international 5G standard which is a detailed mapping on how 5G should look and work, etc. At the event, tech companies decided to levy certain royalty charges on each unit sold using their patented technology which is something every person who knows about technology and stuff knows.
The licensing amount differs such as Nokia decided to levy a flat rate of $3.48 on a single unit using the 5G technology developed by Nokia and others. Further, Ericsson will levy a range of licensing amount from$2.5 to $5 per unit based on the price. Qualcomm, on the other hand, decided to stick to 2.275 percent of a single-mode handset and 3.25 percent on a multimode 5G handset at the wholesale price. Further, it has capped its price in certain metrics which means, it will levy around $13 which is negotiable upon volume.
When combined, the licensing fee that Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Nokia alone are levying is around $21 device and note that Huawei hasn’t yet announced its rate which would be low as per Eric Xu, chairman of Huawei, but it will take the toll higher than $21 that the smartphone manufacturers will have to pay these companies on per unit basis.
Back to the question about Apple, the answer is probably 2020. There is a number of reasons why Apple users will have to wait for almost two years for the first 5G iPhone and that too isn’t confirmed yet. Apple loves its products and its topmost priority is to squeeze out as much profit as it can from a single unit multiplied by millions of units that it ships every year. Paying more than $21 on using 5G technology would cost a hefty fee that it will have to pay with its profit and with dropping market growth, Apple would resort to 4G which goes for a flat rate of $9.60 per unit rather than switching to a network which isn’t available yet and yes, we totally forgot about the 5G components that would have to be integrated to support 5G network that will eat most of the Apple’s profit as well.
Furthermore, Qualcomm which is charging the most in terms of licensing fees has a bitter rivalry with Apple as it recently moved out from supplying modems for CDMA-based iPhones that work Verizon and Sprint. So, all those Apple users, wait till 2020 to see a glimpse of a 5G enabled smartphone and I strongly believe that 5G will become a household network by then.