LIVE FROM QUALCOMM SNAPDRAGON TECH SUMMIT 2018, MAUI: Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon (pictured) highlighted the dynamic nature of 5G as among the major challenges in delivering on the next-generation technology’s full potential, citing spectrum and multiple standards as key parts of the puzzle.
Amon told journalists 5G “is not a static target”, with much more movement “than we saw with LTE”.
“When you think about the evolution, we’re going to be talking about things like FDD spectrum, you’re going to have a little more refarming. Then you have standalone [SA] and then in 2020 you start to have carrier aggregation within 5G and 4G.”
The executive explained Qualcomm is covering all bases with its new Snapdragon 855 5G platform. When paired with the vendor’s existing X50 modem, this will deliver compatibility with mmWave and sub-6GHz TDD spectrum in the opening half of 2019. In the latter half of the year, Qualcomm plans to add FDD spectrum and SA 5G specifications.
A raft of device vendors are already signed up to use Snapdragon 855. In addition to Samsung, which will use the Qualcomm platform in devices bound for US operators AT&T and Verizon in 2019, Chinese vendor OnePlus revealed it is working to launch a compatible model with UK operator EE in the opening six months of the year.
OnePlus is one of several China-based vendors Qualcomm announced are developing smartphones using the Snapdragon 855 and X50 combination. Others include Xiaomi, ZTE, OPPO, Vivo, and China Mobile device subsidiary China Mobile Communication Group Device Company.
Amon predicted 5G will migrate from premium- to mid-tier devices reasonably quickly: while the technology will be a flagship feature in 2019, it will begin to appear in mid-level smartphones from 2020, he believes.
The president explained Qualcomm is developing “dedicated chips” for IoT; a “growth opportunity” he expects will “seed a lot of devices which later will work as 5G IoT”.