Qualcomm and a collection of Chinese tech and telecom companies this week announced plans to work toward the introduction of commercial 5G-ready devices as early as next year.
The San Diego chip maker announced the “5G Pioneer” initiative at the 2018 Qualcomm China Tech Day event Wednesday in Beijing. Qualcomm officials were joined by representatives from Lenovo, OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE and Wingtech to detail their efforts.
The initiative would support China’s smartphone industry and seek to introduce commercial devices that comply with 5G New Radio standards as soon as 2019. Qualcomm added that it would also explore artificial intelligence and Internet of Things technologies under the 5G partnership.
“Qualcomm Technologies has close relationships within China’s mobile and semiconductor ecosystem, and we’ll continue to work with this ecosystem to drive innovation as we move from the 3G/4G era to the 5G era,” said Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon.
The company also announced memorandums of understanding with Lenovo, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi for multi-year purchases of RF front equipment worth at least $2 billion.
Qualcomm officials said that technology will both support China’s current wireless ecosystem and address the challenges of 4G LTE Advanced and 5G networks. Its 5G Tunable RF front-end, in particular, will help companies make thinner, better-performing 5G-ready products, the company said.
“By utilizing Qualcomm Technologies’ modem to antenna platform solutions to RF front-end design, we can take full advantage of performance enhancement features enabled by tight modem-RFFE interaction, bringing more advanced devices to market faster in order to better address global consumer demand for innovative, beautiful and affordable smartphones,” KS Yan, VP of Xiaomi’s MiPhone products, said in a statement.