Qualcomm is pushing the envelope on 5G by announcing it successfully made a 5G data connection using the company’s Snapdragon x50 5G modem in the 28 GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) band. Plus, the company also released a 5G smartphone reference design that it will be testing in the next 12 months.
Sherif Hanna, staff manager, product marketing for 4G and 5G, said that the company is going to be using the reference design to test the robustness of mmWave implementation. “How well does the beam tracking and beam forming work to extend the range of the mmWave?”
Hanna added that the reference design will look like a smartphone and the company plans to immediately begin testing the prototypes in the lab and in the field. “Instead of testing with suitcase prototypes we will be doing it with smartphone form factors.”
Paving the Way to 5G
The company said that the reference design, along with the completion of the 5G New Radio (NR) spec in December, are pointing to mobile 5G being a reality in the first half of 2019. Qualcomm also announced that it will collaborate with Verizon and Novatel Wireless on 5G NR field trials based upon the 3GPP 5G NR spec that is supposed to be released by December of this year. The companies will initially focus on 5G NR in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz mmWave spectrum bands.
AT&T in March increased its timeline for mobile 5G to late 2018 after the 3GPP said it would release the 5G NR spec by December. Previously, the operator had indicated that commercial 5G services would not be ready until late 2019 or even 2020.
Qualcomm also said that it is working on a 5G prototype small cell that will also test mmWave performance in the field.
Editor’s note: This article was updated to include the 5G NR field trials that Qualcomm is planning to conduct with Verizon and Novatel.