Huawei has kicked off the 2018 edition of its global analyst summit in Shenzhen, with the Chinese manufacturer detailing plans for the next year. With 5G set to gain momentum next year, Huawei has announced that its first 5G-enabled smartphone will be making its debut in the latter half of 2019.
Given the timing of the launch, it's not unlikely to expect that Huawei's first 5G phone will be the Mate 30 (provided this year's model is dubbed the Mate 20).
Huawei further clarified that the device would be debuting sometime in Q3 2019, which lines up perfectly with previous Mate launches.
What's notable about Huawei's upcoming 5G phone is that it will use the company's own 5G modem. Huawei unveiled its first 5G modem — the Balong 5G01 chip — back at Mobile World Congress, stating that it will be able to deliver a bandwidth of 2.3Gbps. The size of the Balong chipset suggests it will end up in mobile hotspots and self-driving cars rather than phones, but Huawei is also working on a 5G modem tailored for phones.
Huawei is essentially looking to be an end-to-end services provider for 5G, delivering network equipment to service providers while making 5G-ready hardware available to consumers. Huawei has faced a setback in the U.S. in recent months, but it doesn't look like the move will affect the company in the long run.
Looking ahead, Huawei is predicting that there will be 1.1 billion 5G connections by 2025, along with 200 million 5G-connected cars. That's an ambitious target, and it'll be interesting to see what Huawei brings to the table with its first 5G-enabled phone.