As 5G networks go live around the world, one barrier to entry remains for smartphone users, the price of 5G compatible devices is very high. That could change next year, with news that HMD Global is working on a 5G Nokia phone that could retail for “half the price” of current models.
HMD Global has somewhat revived the Nokia brand in the past couple of years, building a reputation for offering near-stock Android software and solid build quality for the mid-range and budget sectors of the market. Now, it seems the company has got its sights set on disrupting the 5G smartphone circle as well. Chief product officer, Juho Sarvikas, told Digital Trends that a Nokia-branded 5G phone is coming in 2020, and it will cost roughly half of what currently exists on the market.
It is safe to assume that Sarvikas is using the current flagships from Samsung, LG and Huawei as his yardstick here, rather than say, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G (around $680). The Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G starts at $1,300, while the Galaxy S10 5G is a little cheaper at $1,099. LG’s 5G-ready smartphone, the V50 ThinQ, is also a $1,000-plus device, whilst the Sony Xperia 1 only just sneaks into three figures at $999. It seems most likely then, that Sarvikas is talking about a 5G Nokia phone that would retail at around the $500 price point.
“We see a particular opportunity for us in bringing 5G to a more affordable segment as we enter the market,” said Juho Sarvikas. “I would say affordable in relation to what’s available today. I would love to see us at half of the price where you have 5G today.”
HMD is also working with US carriers to deliver a 5G phone next year. Carrier support is going to be crucial for the first wave of these devices. Currently, there are no unlocked 5G phones available in the US or the UK, with even orders placed directly through Samsung’s website being tied to a carrier and a 5G plan.
If HMD Global can get a Nokia-branded 5G phone onto the market at around $500 first, it could be a big win for the Finnish brand. For consumers, it is reassuring to hear an executive confirm that 5G is part of the plan further down the food chain for OEMs. We have to assume that manufacturers such as Xiaomi and Huawei are also working on 5G devices for the mid-range. Could we see a Galaxy A-series phone with 5G support too?
What do you think about Sarvikas’ comments? Let us know!