ZTE unveiles new ZMax Pro, a phablet that sells for only US$99 after rebate
The ZTE display is shown at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 8, 2014. Reuters/Robert Galbraith

On Sunday, ZTE just revealed the first smartphone in the world to every work with 5G capability. It is the first smartphone to be able to handle the fastest known mobile internet service that multiple networks are planning to have up by 2020. The phone is named Gigabit Phone and it can reach download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).

ZTE says that the Gigabit Phone is the first smartphone that is compatible with 5G mobile internet service. It is apparently 10 times faster than the first 4G services that are used today. Even though the service providers do not have their towers ready for this type of technology yet, it is reported to be up and running by year 2020.

The device was revealed during the start of the Mobile World Congress 2017 (MWC 2017). "With the new device, the way people stay connected will be changed forever. Focusing on 5G technologies will be one of the key priorities of ZTE's global development," a ZTE spokesman said.

Forrester analyst Thomas Husson said that ZTE revealed the phone to insinuate innovation as well as to "offer a glimpse into the future when people will be able to download full movies in seconds.” However, ZTE’s smartphone may “not end up in consumers’ pockets.” Husson said that this is so as the 5G and virtual reality technologies are still far away from becoming a “mass-market consumer reality.”

Beyond ZTE, other smartphone makers like LG and Huawei also showed off their upcoming flagship phones. According to BGR, the LG G6 is supposedly the star of the MWC 2017. On top of this, Nokia was previously a source of buzz as its Android line of smartphones are scheduled to come out this year. Furthermore, news of the 3310 making its comeback turned out to be a huge hit for Nokia fans.

As of the time of writing, there are still no mobile networks that offer 5G services. Multiple tech firms are still in the middle of developing products compatible with 5G networks. However, the South Korean carrier KT Corps is now aiming to offer a trial of the 5G mobile internet service in the 2018 Winter Olympics which will be held in Pyeongchang, according to AFP Relaxnews (via Gadgets Now).

With all the mobile phones that were shown off during the MWC, ZTE’s Gigabit Phone was only just a glimpse into what the future can hold for the tech world. It is certainly something for the future to be able to reach download speeds of 1Gbps on smartphones.