No doubt, smartphones have been getting more expensive, but smartphone makers like Apple and Samsung have also offered cheaper alternatives to counter those rising prices — there was the $750 iPhone Xr for the $1,000 iPhone XS in 2018, the $750 iPhone 11 for iPhone 11 Pro in 2019, and the $750 Galaxy S10e for the $900 Galaxy S10 in 2019.
AT&T and Sprint, for example, only includes 5G access in their two most expensive plans. Verizon offers 5G access on all its plans, but it charges an extra $10 for 5G. It's offering 5G access for free with its plans for a limited time at the time of writing.
T-Mobile is the only carrier that bundles in 5G access across all its plans, even its budget Metro-by-T-Mobile plans, without raising the cost.
The first 4G LTE smartphone — the HTC Thunderbolt — sold for $250 with a 2-year contract from Verizon (remember contracts?), which was slightly more expensive than 3G phones at the time that sold for around $200.
And that's often the fact with brand new tech and innovations — the first few iterations of something brand new are often more expensive. Over time, the price of that innovation comes down as it becomes more commonplace and mainstream.
Let's just hope the same goes for 5G.