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Sprint, HTC working on 5G smart hub for first half of 2019

The companies are offering few other details about the device.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials
  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
2 min read

Sprint teases another 5G device. 

Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images
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Sprint is bolstering its family of 5G products for 2019, but isn't telling us much about them.

The nation's fourth-largest wireless carrier said it was working with HTC to release a 5G "smart hub" in the first half of next year. The device, which doesn't have a name, list of features or specific release date, is supposed to "deliver multimedia and connected data capabilities in a compact design."

It's unclear if this is a simple mobile hotspot or something else. 

This marks the second 5G device that Sprint has committed to bringing out early next year. In August, the company said it was working with LG to bring the first 5G smartphone to the US. Sprint, like all of the other carriers, has been heavily hyping 5G as a tech trend that is poised to change how we live our lives. 

While Sprint has been frustratingly vague about these 5G products, it's critical for the carrier to line up products for its specific 5G network. Each carrier will use different bands of spectrum for 5G, and will need specific products tuned to their network. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 that can work across all carriers today will have challenges picking 5G coverage from different carriers. 

If the hub works like a hotspot, it'll be able to pick up Sprint's 5G signal and convert it into a Wi-Fi signal that other devices can ride on. 

"This innovative product will allow customers on the go, at work or at home to enjoy Sprint 5G on multiple devices with incredibly fast connectivity for content sharing, mobile gaming, entertainment and so much more," Sprint Chief Technology Officer John Saw said in a release. 

Sprint says it plans to roll out 5G in nine cities this year, with the intent to turn on the networks next year. But the company faces a potential takeover by T-Mobile, which has its own 5G plans.