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A 5G Apple iPhone will be an important event for the market: Verizon CEO

Brian Sozzi

The market is anxiously waiting for your first 5G iPhone, Apple (AAPL). Hop to it.

“Many of the phones we are launching this year will be 5G enabled. But of course, Apple is an important smartphone vendor in the world and if they come out with 5G phones — I don’t know when —that will also be an important event for the market,” Verizon Communications (VZ) Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg said on Yahoo Finance’s First Trade Tuesday. “We’ll see, that’s more for them to think about right now.”

Investors hoping for a 5G iPhone to spark the tech giant’s stagnant handset sales may have a long wait.

While Apple’s latest patent resolution with 5G chipmaker Qualcomm paves the way for a 5G iPhone, the long development times likely means a flashy new high-speed device won’t be in the offing until midway through 2020. That’s at the earliest, according to many experts.

As Apple duked it out with Qualcomm for over a year on the patent issue, other smartphone vendors worked on new 5G phones. That has the likes of Apple rivals Samsung, Huawei and LG in prime position to release 5G smartphones this year.

And for Verizon, that’s welcome news.

Verizon is smack in the middle of a massive 5G network rollout. It switched on 5G capabilities in Chicago and Minneapolis in early April, ahead of its projections. In total, about 30 cities will get 5G-enabled services from Verizon in 2019.

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The new 5G services are expected to offer quicker download times for data hungry consumers. For Verizon, 5G will give it a platform to charge more per customer for the upgraded service.

Vestberg said it may be up to two years before the benefits of 5G positively impact’s Verizon’s financials.

Indeed that timeline could be sped up a bit if Apple picks up the pace.

An Apple spokesman didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Verizon Communications is the parent company of Yahoo Finance.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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