When Verizon Wireless CEO Ronan Dunne said in January that he wanted to drive down the price of a 5G phone — which can cost in excess of $1,000 — he told us the goal for this year was to sell one for less than $600.
Now TCL is touting that its upcoming TCL 10 5G phone will come in at under $500.
Stefan Streit, general manager of global marketing for TCL’s phone business, said in an interview last month that the company’s original target for a 5G phone was to get under $500. But the phone goes on sale in Europe for 399 euros next month, and arrives in the US with an unnamed carrier in the second half, with the potential to hit the $399 mark.
That price would make the TCL 10 5G phone one of the most affordable ways to get into the world of 5G, the next-generation of wireless technology that’s supposed to dramatically change our lives with super-fast network speed and responsiveness. The early days of 5G saw spotty coverage and expensive devices, but devices like the 10 5G underscore the notion that this technology is accessible to more people.
For TCL, which is better known for making affordable but feature-packed televisions, trends like 5G and that other flashy mobile trend, foldable phones, represent an opportunity to make a better name for itself in the smartphone world. The Chinese company has long operated different brands, including Alcatel, BlackBerry and Palm, but it’s ready to tout a broader family of products under one name, a la Samsung or LG, but with more of a mass-market bent.
“It’s part of TCL’s philosophy,” Streit said in an interview for CNET’s Daily Charge podcast. “We’re looking at how we can bring this technology into something more affordable.”
The 10 5G is part of TCL’s broader 10 line, which includes the 10 Pro and 10 L. These phones were supposed to light up the flashier coming-out party of the TCL brand as a phone maker at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona earlier this year, but that got squashed when the conference was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. More