5G race is on for phone makers as Huawei launches extra-expensive, foldable, 5G phones

Huawei, the world’s second largest phone maker after Samsung (but ahead of Apple) presented its 5G phone with a 6.6-inch foldable screen at 2,299 euros (US$2600) at the Mobile World Congress (MW

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5G race is on for phone makers as Huawei launches extra-expensive, foldable, 5G phones

Huawei, the world’s second largest phone maker after Samsung (but ahead of Apple) presented its 5G phone with a 6.6-inch foldable screen at 2,299 euros (US$2600) at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Spain over the weekend.

Ryan Ding, president of Huawei’s carrier business group, demonstrated the phone’s capability to run video in a 5G environment. It’s equipped with Huawei’s own chipset, and the live 5G network at MWC was also powered by the Chinese firm. Viewed as a leader in 5G technologies, Huawei has shipped more than 25,000 5G base stations worldwide. However, the firm is currently facing scrutiny and boycotts from several countries over fears its technology could pose a security threat because of the firm’s close ties with the Chinese government.

5G technology is expected to redefine the video and game experience on mobile networks and could be a new growth engine for the sluggish industry, as 4G smartphones are reaching a saturation point in mature markets.

Other phone makers also debuted 5G devices at MWC.

The world’s fourth largest smartphone maker Xiaomi, also from China, launched its first 5G smartphone, the Mi Mix 3 5G edition, at 599 euros (US$679.6) at MWC, adding that the phones would be available in May this year. Xiaomi has teamed up with seven carriers worldwide.

Another major smartphone maker OPPO launched its 5G phone one day earlier, adding that it has started cooperation with four carriers, namely Swisscom, Singtel, Telstra and Optus.

The world’s top-selling smartphone brand Samsung had teased its foldable phone — the world’s first — at an event a few months earlier. The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chip featuring a 5G modem and it’s priced at £1,800 (about US$2,300), slightly lower than Huawei’s Mate X. Samsung has set the shipment date at April 26 this year.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad