Qualcomm, Chinese handset makers vow to introduce 5G smartphones in 2019

06 Feb 2018

Qualcomm Technologies and a handful of Chinese handset manufacturers have banded together on a new initiative to work toward the introduction of commercial 5G devices to the market as early as next year.

The US chipset maker announced the “5G Pioneer” initiative at the 2018 Qualcomm China Tech Day in Beijing last month. Qualcomm executives were joined by representatives from six Chinese smartphone makers - Lenovo, Oppo, vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE and Wingtech – to outline the details of the initiative.

The initiative will support China's smartphone industry and seeks to introduce commercial devices that comply with 5G New Radio standards as soon as 2019, Qulacomm said.

The companies will also explore artificial intelligence and IoT technologies under the 5G partnership, Qualcomm added.

“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.

A recent survey conducted by Qualcomm shows that Chinese mobile users are showing unprecedented interest in 5G, with 60% of Chinese consumers are likely to purchase 5G smartphones when available.

China is also tipped to lead global 5G adoption by 2023. According to CCS Insight's 5G forecast, 5G connections will reach 1 billion worldwide in mid-2023, and China will account for more than half of all 5G subscribers as early as 2022.

Meanwhile, China is also home of many leading 3G/4G smartphone manufacturers. According to Counterpoint Research, in 2017, seven of the top ten global 3G/4G smartphone manufacturers were from China.

In a separate announcement, Qualcomm signed a MoU with Lenovo, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi for multi-year purchases of RF front end equipment worth $2 billion.

Qualcomm said its RF front end portfolio will both support China's current mobile ecosystem and address the rapidly expanding complexity and challenges of 4G LTE Advanced and 5G networks.

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