If you have followed my scribblings on social media, you would have observed that I have mentioned the subject of itel 5g phones before now. You could say that I am fascinated by the idea. Why? Simple: itel Mobile is a brand that is dedicated to providing cheap Android phones for the entry-level smartphone market.
As such, while we may all be excited about the current crop of premium 5G phones from Samsung, Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi and others, it is a brand like itel that will truly democratice 5G phones, making them available at the lowest costs so most people can afford one. That is why I am fascinated by the idea.
I recall when 4G LTE began to be deployed. Only those with a lot of money could afford one. Today, we have sub-$100 4G smartphones from itel Mobile putting LTE connectivity and access into the hands of teachers, market men and women, artisans, and students.
That is exactly what I foresee happening with 5G technology. But one thing is key to making this happen: the availability of affordable 5G chipsets. Thankfully, one has just been announced.
Unisoc T7520 is a 5G chipset for affordable smartphones
itel Mobile and UNISOC are not strangers. A number of itel phones are powered by UNISOC chipsets. Think of a chipset as the core of the engine of your phone. If it supports 4G, it can be used to produce a 4G phone. If it supports only 3G, it can be used to produce a 3G phone. So, a 5G chipset will power 5G phones.
The UNISOC T7520 chipset is 5G-enabled and afforadable, meaning that its announcement is one step towards us seeing more affiordable 5G smartphones in the market. While both Qualcomm and Mediatek, two other chipmakers, have announced 5G chipsets for mid-range smartphones, UNISOC’s announcement further pushes down the price point achievable for 5G phones.
Chances are that we will see an itel 5G phone powered by a UNISOC or Mediatek chipset in the near future. It is only a matter of time. As 5G technology spreads, it will become more affordable, thanks to lower-priced components of this sort.
When will the first itel 5G phones arrive?
Nobody knows for sure yet when itel 5G phones will be announced. It is important to note that this is a matter of market demand. itel Mobile makes entry-level smartphones for the bottom of the pyramid in certain countries. As such, 5G mobile networks have to launch first in those markets and coverage be wide enough to make the p[rospect profitable for them.
Then, and only then, will we see the first itel 5G phone announced and released.
For example, Nigeria is a strong market for itel. So are India and Pakistan. In particular, India is a huge market for itel Mobile. India is so large and vibrant that itel even announces specific phones just for that market. For example, the itel Vision 1 was announced for India. As such, there is no doubt that India is key to the announcement of an itel 5G phone.
5G Mobile Networks In India
As at the time of publishing this, there are no active 5G mobile networks yet in India. However, there are plans to have commercial deployment by the year 2022 - that is two years from now. Reliance Jio says its mobile network is 5G-ready . What that means in real terms is that the network can be upgraded with minimal effort.
5G Mobile Networks in Africa
In Nigeria, where itel Mobile has the affordable smartphone market on lockdown, MTN has demonstrated 5G technology, but the country is perhaps years away from commercial deployment. The Big Four mobile networks are still in the process of rolling out full 4G LTE coverage across the country. Smaller 4G operators like Smile, Ntel, Spectranet and others, are yet to achieve anything close to nationwide coverage.
It isn’t likely that this will hold the country back from 5G deployment. As things stand, once the regulator and the Big Four – MTN, Airtel, Glo, and 9mobile – are ready, it will happen. There is also the chance that new 5G-only operators will appear on the scene.
A report says that Nigeria, along with Kenya and South Africa, are among the seven (7) African countries to have active 5G networks by 2025 .
Having looked at all the factors on ground, it is safe to predict that we will see the first itel 5G phone in 2022 and that by 2025, itel 5G phones will be as commonplace as itel 4G phones are today.