5G rollout looks to accelerate

1 min read

Qualcomm is promising that it will be able to bring 5G mobile phones to 'the masses' with a high-end modem and that its chips would also be able power the mid-price devices that are expected to hit the market in 2020.

Qualcomm is the world's biggest supplier of mobile phone chips and is suggesting that 5G devices will be hitting scale and volume earlier than many have previously thought.

With more than 20 network operators and a similar number of smartphone makers launching 5G services and handsets, Qualcomm has estimated that there are upwards of 2.2 billion mobile users that could be looking to upgrade.

Qualcomm has tended to supply 5G chips from its most expensive line, Snapdragon 8, but is now looking to add 5G capabilities to its lower-cost Snapdragon 6 and 7 series devices, which could help broaden demand and speed up the roll out of 5G.

Unlike its rivals, Qualcomm is designing its chipsets to handle a broad range frequencies “the A to Z”, and is ensuring much greater flexibility to switch between 4G networks and new 5G networks was critical.

Rival Huawei has also unveiled its own 5G chipset, the Kirin 990, which it describes as the first all-in-one 5G system on a chip. The Kirin 990 packs more than 10 billion transistors and can support downlink speeds of up to 2.3 gigabits per second.

However, at present it plans only to use the Kirin 990 in its own devices, and is being held back by the blacklisting of the company by the US Administration, which is preventing it using services run by Google.

That is a major blow for the company at a time when the market for 5G enabled devices is seemingly developing at a very fast rate, much faster than previously expected.

For Huawei, it finds itself in a position where it is unable to make the most of those opportunities by contrast Qualcomm, whose chips are powering a broad range of devices, has the marketing muscle to take advantage of this fast growing market and to strengthen its position in the 5G space..