Qualcomm and Ericsson on Thursday announced another achievement in the ongoing parade of 5G firsts, with the successful completion of a 5G NR call made using a smartphone form factor mobile device.
The 3GPP Release 15-complaint over-the-air call was made using mmWave spectrum in the 39 GHz band in a non-standalone (NSA) mode. The mobile test device integrated Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem, with the call utilizing Ericsson’s commercial 5G NR radio AIR 5331 and baseband products. The test was conducted in an Ericsson lab in Kista, Sweden.
5G devices are expected early in 2019, but whether those smartphones will be the same size that consumers are used to remains uncertain. While the image Qualcomm provided shows a somewhat oversized device, it is in the realm of typical smartphones and the chipmaker has invested heavily in slimming down next-generation components. In July, Qualcomm unveiled miniaturized mmWave antenna modules small enough to fit into the bezel of a smartphone reference design.
“Mobilizing mmWave for the smartphone has been seen by many as an impossible challenge, but this demonstration validates that we are on track to bring groundbreaking 5G mmWave experiences to consumers,” says Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Incorporated, in a statement. “This successful lab call is a testament to our continued innovation and collaboration with Ericsson, and we look forward to further industry-leading milestones with them as we progress to 5G commercialization of networks and mobile devices in early 2019.”
The recent call builds on interoperability development testing announced in 2017 that relied on Ericsson’s 5G NR pre-commercial base stations and Qualcomm’s 5G NR EU prototypes, according to the companies.
“Today’s data call milestone with Qualcomm Technologies shows the importance of building the 5G ecosystem,” Fredrik Jejdling, EVP and head of business area networks at Ericsson, says. “We’re also making headway on commercial 5G by performing interoperability tests on new mmWave bands, giving our customers wider deployment options and the consumers, faster speeds.”