Qualcomm has started work on making 5G mainstream on smartphones by 2019. The San Diego-based mobile chipmaker has announced that it will provide Snapdragon X50 modems supporting the new 5G standard to 18 original equipment manufacturers.
Qualcomm will supply modem chips to smartphone makers including Asus, Fujitsu, HMD Global, HTC, LG, Oppo, Sharp, Sony, vivo, Xiaomi and ZTE. All these manufacturers will be able to commercialize 5G mobile devices by 2019. The company signed an extended partnership with Samsung for 5G deployment last week, but it seems the list will exclude Apple, the second-largest smartphone brand globally. Apple is reportedly going to use 5G modem exclusively from Intel for future iPhone.
In a statement, Qualcomm confirmed that its Snapdragon X50 5G modem has been selected for use in live, over-the-air mobile 5G NR trials with leading telecom operators. The operators supporting Qualcomm’s 5G modem include AT&T, British Telecom, China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, KT Corporation, LG Uplus, NTT Docomo, Orange, Singtel, SK Telecom, Sprint, Telstra, TIM, Vodafone Group and Verizon.
Qualcomm says it will have a planned demonstration of its Snapdragon X50 5G modem at Mobile World Congress 2018 later this month. The 5G modem will be capable of “achieving download speeds of several gigabits per second”. Qualcomm plans to start live trials with leading operators in late 2018, and operators will utilize spectrum in the sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave (mmWave) bands. The manufacturers could announce first set of products with Snapdragon X50 modem at CES next year or MWC 2019.
“2018 will be a big year for Qualcomm Technologies and the mobile industry overall as we work to execute on the agreed upon 5G NR specification,” said Cristiano Amon, President, Qualcomm Incorporated.
Fifth generation mobile networks or 5G wireless systems will not only bring improved data speeds for smartphone users, but it will make the dream of smart connected devices a reality. With 5G, Qualcomm envisions an ‘Always Connected’ device ecosystem which includes PCs, VR and AR devices.