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Sprint launching 5G phone and hotspot, but service is still not available

Dwight SilvermanMay 16, 2019

Sprint will begin selling a smartphone and mobile hotspot later this month that will work with its next-generation, 5G cellular data service. Houston will be one of the first four cities to launch 5G, but the carrier isn’t yet saying when that will happen.

On May 31, Sprint will begin selling a 5G-capable smartphone, the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, and a 5G mobile hotspot, the HTC 5G Hub. Pre-orders begin Friday, according to a news release.

The LG smartphone has a list price of $1,152, though Sprint is offering it on an 18-month lease for $24 a month. It uses the Android 8.1 operating system and has a 6.4-inch OLED display.

The HTC hotspot lists for $600, with a $12.50 a month payment plan.

Houston will be one of the first four cities that will get Sprint’s 5G service, along with Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City, and the devices will be sold in those locations first. Next on the list are Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

NOT YET: Wait a while before jumping on the 5G train

Sprint has not revealed when its 5G service will launch, saying only in the release that it will happen in “the coming weeks”.

5G is considered the successor to LTE, or 4G, data cellular service. It is promised to dramatically increase data speeds and reduce latency, the time it takes a remote computer to respond to a request for information.

AT&T is the only carrier with mobile 5G service in Houston, though it is on an invitation-only basis - the average customer can’t sign up for it.

Verizon is marketing a wireless home broadband service as 5G, and it is available in some locations around the city.

T-Mobile and Sprint have announced plans for a merger, though recent news reports indicate that federal regulators aren’t thrilled with the idea. But the combined companies have said their 5G plans would accelerate should the merger be approved.

Dwight Silverman is the technology editor for the Houston Chronicle and the grillmaster for the TechBurger tech news site. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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