Patchy 5G coverage across the UK and strict new restrictions on 5G infrastructure provider Huawei make it difficult to imagine people queueing out the doors for the new £1399 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Remember when you first heard about 5G and the future of connectivity seemed bright? That’s now faded into a distant memory, as disarray has descended on 5G in the UK.
Various people are behind the chaos, but it’s mostly down to Huawei and/or the UK government, depending on which side of the argument you stand on.
The Chinese company has been told that it can only have a limited role in the country’s 5G provision, so now providers are scrambling to remove Huawei equipment from their existing setups.
There’s a strong chance that this might result in some bumps for the 5G rollout schedule. But it’s easy to imagine how the companies’ mast-refitting costs could also lead to price hikes for customers.
Even if you’re willing to overlook this, there’s still the issue of patchy coverage to contend with. 5G is only available in about 50 towns and cities but not with great consistency. And the places that most need faster connection speeds – like rural areas and smaller towns – don’t have access to 5G at all, and this probably won’t change for a couple of years.
But wait, there’s more bad news! Because it’s a relatively new technology, most 5G handsets have a few hundred quid bunged on the average price. With the S20, the standard mobile will set you back £799 and the 5G version is £899. The Ultra costs an eye-watering £1399.
Related: 5G in the UK
That extra cash will net you an enhanced camera and a bit more power. But you can get a very nice camera from much cheaper 4G phones – like the Google Pixel 3a.
It seems like Samsung is banking on you reaching for the 5G feature on its flagship phone. Before you do, you should ask yourself, with limited country-wide coverage and our continuing Huawei chaos, is it really worth spending the extra money right now?