Nokia expects to charge smartphone vendors €3 per device to licence its standard essential patents for 5G New Radio (NR), as the company released estimates ahead of the launch of 5G phones early in 2019.

In a statement, Nokia said it expects to have a “significant position” in standard essential patents for 5G, while committing to honour the fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) approach to its licensing rates.

Nokia added it will work out licensing rates separately for other devices and will communicate with relevant industry participants to determine “licensing models best suited for those industries”. The company added its estimates were based on “current assumptions of the Nokia 5G patent portfolio and its anticipated growth”.

At the end of last month, Nokia reported a lacklustre set of Q2 results, but said it expected a better performance in the second half of the year, with 5G spend from operators expected to ramp in Q4.

Nokia’s estimates for 5G licensing rates follows rival vendors Qualcomm and Ericsson.

Ericsson said in March it would charge a flat royalty fee of $5 per 5G NR multimode handset, but noted its fees could go as low as $2.50 per device for handsets with low ASPs.

In November 2017, Qualcomm said it will implement a royalty rate of 2.2275 per cent of the selling price for single mode 5G handsets and a higher price of 3.25 per cent for multimode smartphones with 3G, 4G and 5G capabilities. A $500 cap on the smartphone price means the maximum fee vendors would have to pay stands at $16.25 per device.

Hype ramps
Ilkka Rahnasto, head of the Patent business at Nokia, said the announcement was important in helping companies plan for the introduction of 5G/NR capable mobile phones, with commercial launches expected in 2019.

And Nokia’s announcement comes as smartphone vendors begin to reveal developments around 5G devices.

Last week, LG and Sprint claimed they would launch the first true 5G smartphone in the US in early 2019, while Motorola unveiled a new clip-on attachment to give its new Moto Z3 smartphone 5G capabilities. At the recent Galaxy Note 9 launch, Samsung also said it was working with operators on a 5G phone, ahead of the launch of commercial networks in 2019.