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Why Buying a Smartphone This Year Is a Big Mistake

Written by Jason Stutman
Posted November 16, 2018 at 7:00PM

If you’re planning on getting a new iPhone for yourself or anyone else this holiday season, I have an important piece of advice for you:

Don’t do it.

In fact, if you’re planning on getting a new smartphone at all this year, no matter the manufacturer, it would be more than wise to wait another year before pulling the trigger.

Of course, for some of us, that’s easier said than done. If you’re just itching to upgrade your phone, I can certainly relate.

Currently, I’m working with a Google Pixel phone that’s having some incredibly annoying battery issues. This thing doesn’t want to hold a charge for more than 12 hours, and it likes to power down at 25% battery for no good reason.

I can’t tell you how many times a week my girlfriend yells at me in frustration after I drop a call: “Get a new phone!”

As much as I want to upgrade, though, I just can’t bring myself to buy a smartphone yet. It’s not about money, mind you, but about waste. After all, when the next generation of mobile devices is revealed in 2019, I will be upgrading whether my phone is from 2016 or from 2018.

You see, 2018 is the last year that leading smartphone OEMs will be without a crucial piece of new technology that represents the next step up for mobile devices. In other words, when 2019 rolls around, all smartphone models revealed through 2018 are going to be on the fast track to obsolescence.

Today’s Phones Are Outdated Already

If you’ve been keeping up with this newsletter for the past several months, you may already know what I’m getting at. I’m talking about 5G chipsets that will allow you to connect to the 5G networks being deployed across the U.S. today.

The world’s leading modem chipset makers today are Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC). Qualcomm first revealed its own 5G chipset in July, which will be launching next year. Intel is playing a bit of catch up but just announced its XMM 8160 5G modem this week and expects to make it available by the second half of 2019.

As it’s playing out so far, Qualcomm is positioned to dominate international markets, while Intel will supply Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) entirely. That’s all thanks to an ongoing legal spat between Qualcomm and Apple, but none of that really matters in context.

The point is that the entire tech industry is about to upgrade to 5G tech. Android phones will be the first to include those chipsets early next year. Apple is positioned to reveal a 5G phone in 2019, too, but we know Motorola and LG will be among competing OEMs to beat the company to the punch some time in the first half.

New Waves for the New Wave of Tech

In addition to the world’s biggest chipmakers and smartphone OEMs getting on board, regulators are also pushing forward with 5G efforts as we speak.

On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched its first high-band 5G spectrum auction, something we’ve been talking about for months now.

Bidding began on Wednesday on the 28 GHz band and will be followed by bidding for spectrum in the 24 GHz band. These auctions will be followed by another round in 2019, this time for three more millimeter-wave spectrum bands: 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz.

If any of that’s confusing, don’t sweat it. You didn’t need to understand how a circuit board worked in the 1990s to know computers were incredibly valuable. In the same sense, you don’t really need to know about specific wave bands to know that 5G is a massive profit opportunity.

At the end of the day, all you need to know is that regulators are opening up new pathways of communication that will make mobile communications incredibly fast. We’re talking at least 100 times the speed of existing 4G networks. We’re talking about response times less than one-thousandth of a second.

As FCC Chairman Ajit Pai put it on Wednesday, “These airwaves will be critical in deploying 5G services and applications.”

Over the next 15 months, more spectrum will be opened up than is currently used for mobile broadband by all mobile service providers combined. Mind you, this all follows a presidential memorandum signed by President Trump last month, directing the Commerce Department to develop a long-term spectrum strategy for the introduction of 5G.

The Best 5G Stocks to Buy Today

Needless to say, the writing is on the wall, and I am confident that the biggest investment opportunity of 2019 is going to be 5G infrastructure and components as these networks are deployed.

Some of these companies are so desperate to get the infrastructure built that they are literally going rogue and defying local authorities to get it done. It’s happening on my own block, and it may even be happening on yours.

I’ll have more on that for you next week, but in the meantime, I will continue to urge you to start looking into 5G investment opportunities before it’s too late.

These are my top three 5G stocks heading into 2019. At the very least, you should consider taking a peak.

Until next time,

  JS Sig

Jason Stutman

follow basic @JasonStutman on Twitter

Jason Stutman is Wealth Daily's senior technology analyst and editor of investment advisory newsletters Technology and Opportunity and The Cutting Edge. His strategy for building winning portfolios is simple: Buy the disruptor, sell the disrupted.

Covering the broad sector of technology and occasionally dabbling in the political sphere, Jason has written hundreds of articles spanning topics from consumer electronics and development stage biotechnology to political forecasting and social commentary.

Outside the office Jason is a lover of science fiction and the outdoors, and an amateur squash player at best. He writes through the lens of a futurist, free market advocate, and fiscal conservative. Jason currently hails from Baltimore, Maryland, with roots in the great state of New York.

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