5G Smartphones May Arrive as Soon as 2019 Thanks to China and Qualcomm

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

5G technology has been in development for years. The initial agreed estimate was that the technology won’t be available for commercial use until 2020. Now it seems that Qualcomm has succeeded in pushing the deadline down by one year. If Qualcomm succeeds it could mean a significantly faster wireless technology, and better signal quality in as early as next year.

The 5G Initiative

Qualcomm announced the news in a blog post on January 24, 2018. The post details what happened when Qualcomm Technologies Inc., held a special event in Beijing called the 2018 Qualcomm China Tech Day. In the post, they wrote that the following invited manufacturers, Lenovo, Xiaomi, OPPO, ZTE, Wingtech, and vivo, has announced, through each of their representatives, their interest in working with Qualcomm and with each other towards developing the Chinese smartphone industry especially regarding the possible benefits and opportunities to be available through the development of 5G technology. They called this the “5G Pioneer Initiative.”

Image Source: VRWorld

Image Source: VRWorld

They believe that China’s mobile and smartphone users have an interest in 5G technology, according to a survey conducted by Qualcomm themselves. According to their survey, as much as 60% of the consumers in China is interested in 5G technology and more likely to buy a smartphone with 5G capabilities in the future. Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Inc., is optimistic about the 5G future in China and about 5G itself.

He said 5G would bring huge new opportunities for the mobile industry. He also added highlighted that they have close relationships with China’s mobile and semiconductor ecosystem and pledges that they’ll continue to work with China in a pursuit of 5G technology.

In the event, they also highlighted the current efforts of each tech company involved regarding 5G: Lenovo’s chairman and CEO, Yuanqing Yang, discussed how his company has started the research and standardization process already. This makes sense given that Lenovo is a smartphone manufacturing company. Since the technology was initially thought to be hitting the shelves by 2020, it makes sense that smartphone manufacturers would have already established research dedicated to 5G. The meaning of Lenovo’s speech is echoed by the other companies all except OPPO, which is a company that supplies smartphone camera parts. They do, however, promised to bring superior camera smartphones for young people, and focus on innovations in technology in the mobile photo capturing.

The companies also signed that day four memoranda of understanding, between them and Qualcomm, where they expressed interest in the purchasing Qualcomm’s RF Front End (RFFE) components. The promised price is $2 billion over 3 years. Qualcomm’s RFFE components were created to aid the Chinese OEMs to replace their component-approach based technology to that of one based on a system-level modem-to-antenna that required for 5G. In the post made by Qualcomm, each company expressed what they plan to do with the Qualcomm RFFE.

Image Source: Digitaltrends

Lenovo’s devices uses Qualcomm technology (Image Source: Digitaltrends)

KS Yan, who is the vice president and vice chairman of the quality committee of MiPhone at Xiaomi, states that they plan to take advantage of Qualcomm’s technology, making better and cheaper phones and making them available faster on the market. Lenovo cited that they use Qualcomm tech in a number of products, especially for smartphones and laptops, and with Qualcomm’s RFFE they’re confident their devices can get stronger signals than before.

China, The First 5G Country?

If the companies are able to deliver their promise, Qualcomm will be the first company to ride the 5G wave in the world and China’s citizens will be the first country to fully utilize 5G technology for mobile. This might excite people from countries near China, looking forward to 5G technology as well, but there’s no assurance when 5G will be also available in those territories. In the US, however, Verizon already plans to test 5G wireless broadband by deploying it in several US cities in the latter half of the year.