More details about what companies are planning for 5G -- the next-generation cellular technology that promises significantly faster data transfer speeds -- are falling into place.
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Qualcomm (QCOM - Get Report) debuted 5G networking chips for a range of products, including personal computers. Last week, the chipmaker also announced a 5G modem for phones and other devices, called Snapdragon X55 5G.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm rival Intel (INTC - Get Report) said that its 5G modem chips will roll out later this year -- thought they won't show up in smartphones or other consumer "products in the market" until 2020, Intel executive Sandra Rivera told a group on Friday. Sample 5G modems will be available later this year, she said, and non-consumer 5G products such as networking equipment will also be available this year, Reuters reported.
Rivera's remarks seemed to corroborate a widespread expectation that Apple (AAPL - Get Report) , Intel's largest customer, won't roll out 5G-enabled iPhones until 2020. But in the meantime, network providers, chipmakers and smartphone makers are all getting their ducks in a row for the faster technology, which is expected to boost smartphone sales.
At its Unpacked event last week, Samsung announced a 5G-enabled Galaxy S10 along with several other Galaxy models and accessories. Though it didn't specify a price or an exact release date for the 5G phone, it will launch exclusively on Verizon (VZ - Get Report) sometime in the second quarter, Samsung said.
Sometime after launching on Verizon, Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G will be available on other networks, including Sprint Corp.'s (S - Get Report) . At Mobile World Congress, Sprint announced plans to roll out its commercial 5G coverage in the U.S. this year, starting in May with a select set of cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City, with a handful of other cities getting the service in the first half of 2019.
"We're excited to play our part in advancing the next generation of wireless technology as we prepare to debut our mobile 5G service in nine markets," said Sprint CEO Michel Combes in a press release. "Even better, when combined with T-Mobile we will be able to roll out 5G in more places, more quickly, building an incredible nationwide 5G network that reaches underserved communities, accelerates competition, and drives new levels of U.S. innovation and progress."
As 5G networks roll out in the U.S. and elsewhere in the coming quarters, just how much they'll kickstart sluggish smartphone sales remains an open question.
"As these networks roll out, they're going to want devices on the network, and they want them to be the best and newest devices, so it'll be the timing of all those things coming together," GSMA Intelligence's Peter Jarich told TheStreet. "But the use case for the average consumer is still unclear."