OnePlus is going to be one of the first smartphone makers to release a 5G phone in 2019, said co-founder Carl Pei at December's Qualcomm summit. It has been working on 5G since 2016 and has lined up partnerships with both EE - the network operator that pioneered 4G in the UK - and chip maker Qualcomm to ensure it is ready to go with the technology as soon as possible.
But what's particularly interesting for OnePlus fans is that the eventual handset is not going to be the OnePlus 7 - it will be too expensive to fit into the existing product line. And that means we could see two new flagship phones from the company arriving this summer.
When is the OnePlus 5G phone coming out?
In an interview with CNET Lau confirmed the 5G phone would arrive before the end of May 2019. EE will be the launch partner in the UK.
EE will roll out 5G support to 16 UK cities (10% of its portfolio, serving 25% of its customers) in 2019, starting with Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.
How much will the OnePlus 5G phone cost?
With the company not expecting to see huge sales in 2019 the 5G OnePlus will not be priced for profit. However, it will be significantly more expensive than the current OnePlus 6T because the components necessary for 5G cost more - up to $200-$300 more.
So whereas the OnePlus 6T starts at £499, we could be looking at a price closer to £699 for the 5G OnePlus phone.
5G data plans will also be more expensive than current 4G tariffs.
OnePlus 5G phone features and specifications
OnePlus has already confirmed that its 5G phone will be running the recently announced Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, which is successor to the 845 seen in the 6T and capable of taking on Apple's most recent A12 Bionic chips.
Not only does it support the faster connectivity standard, which is somewhere between 20- and 100 times faster than 5G in day-to-day use, but the processor is also 45% faster than the older chip in general processing, and 20% faster in graphics.
Lau told CNET that the first 5G phone from OnePlus will use the sub-6GHz spectrum, not the faster millimeter wave technology. Though slower, with peak downloads of 400- to 500Mbps (still significantly faster than 4G), this spectrum is more reliable and can travel longer distances.
A disadvantage of the faster 5G tech is that the extra components required place a heavy burden on the smartphone's design, adding weight and thickness, and OnePlus is keen not to have to compromise here. Instead, the company's 5G phone will look a lot like the OnePlus 6T, complete with a glass frame, waterdrop notch and in-display fingerprint sensor.
Ice Universe has claimed that "the next OnePlus phone" will come with fast UFS 3.0 storage, with the current 6T using UFS 2.1. It's at least twice as fast, and the Twitter leakster revealed a screenshot of a benchmark showing high sequential reads of 2279.8MB/s, sequential writes of 1801.1MB/s, random reads of 146.4Mb/s, 37240.3 IOPS and random writes of 137.5MB/s, 34962.27 IOPS. Whether he is referring to the OnePlus 5G phone, the OnePlus 7, or both, we will just have to wait and see.
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