Smells like team spirit: collaboration key to deliver “5G Future”, Qualcomm says

During the company’s 5G summit in Barcelona 14-16 October, Cristiano Amon, President of Qualcomm, stressed the importance of working with current stakeholders and future partners to unlock all the benefits of 5G.

“It would be a mistake to think that only one company can do this, we have to work together.” Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm, immediately set the tone during the opening of his keynote speech at the company’s 5G Summit in Barcelona. While separatists clashed with the police in the Catalan city, in contrast, Amon’s emphasis was very much on the importance of sticking together to deliver a successful 5G future. That means, amongst other things, expanding coverage. Much progress has been made since the company’s last 5G summit in Hong Kong in 2018: over 30 operators worldwide have launched 5G today and more than 40 compatible devices exist, Qualcomm said, with many more in the pipeline. While praising the “incredible” achievements of 2019, Amon reminded the audience that this would not have been possible without the mobilisation of the entire ecosystem. “Now we have many of the technology ingredients ready with a mature device ecosystem for the first wave of 5G,” he said. Amon specifically pointed to dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) as a key driver of coverage expansion since it enables 4G and 5G to co-exist using the same spectrum band. This will be “the most important feature we are going to see for the scale of 5G in 2020,” he promised.


5G and the intelligent wireless edge

There were announcements aplenty during the summit but the piece de resistance was undoubtedly news that Qualcomm, a leader in wireless technology, has ambitious plans to revolutionise the broadband industry with a 5G fixed wireless replacement for cable and fibre. The company revealed that over 30 global OEMs had chosen its Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF system for commercial 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) customer-premises equipment (CPE) device launches starting next year. Some the names on this long list of OEMs and solution providers include LG, NETGEAR, Nokia, Sagemcom, Samsung Electronics, Telit and ZTE. Qualcomm said this development would unleash a fast-growing opportunity for 5G mobile operators. “Our comprehensive Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System architecture, which supports virtually any combination of 5G spectrum bands and modes, from sub-6 to extended-range mmWave, will empower global mobile carriers and OEMs to offer best-in-class 5G performance to homes and businesses, including those in previously underserved areas,” said the group’s President. Qualcomm believes this solution will offer additional opportunities to leverage 5G network infrastructure for broad coverage in urban, suburban and rural environments. “Due to the development ease of our integrated system and industry movement toward self-installed, plug-and-play CPE devices, we expect OEMs will be able to support fixed broadband deployments beginning in 2020,” Amon added. As Nokia’s President of Mobile Networks, Tommi Uitto perfectly summed it up when invited on stage to discuss its collaboration with the American group, for many OEMs and mobile carriers, “it really has paid off to partner with Qualcomm in the early days of 5G”.


Driving the new age of digital transformation

Other than Nokia, Qualcomm shared the stage with a number of partners from within and outside the telecom industry including Ericsson, Xiaomi, Microsoft, Amazon, Walmart, Bosch, Enel etc. As 5G’s commercialisation races ahead and is currently very much focused on consumer launches, Qualcomm was evidently keen to unveil the numerous benefits that the unified connectivity fabric of 5G will bring to a wider global ecosystem. From telecoms to technology, retail, energy and manufacturing, Qualcomm’s partners were invited to present their roadmap to use 5G to transform their industries, promising that the ensuing efficiencies would create a virtuous circle of further innovation and greater productivity as connected and intelligent devices at the network edge deliver new capabilities and services in the years ahead. Walmart’s Senior Vice President of Innovations, John Crecelius, said he believed 5G would accelerate the future of logistics and transform retail, while Dave Shearer, Vice President, WW Business Development at Amazon, presented a cloud storage solution developed in partnership with Qualcomm to store and manage pictures as 41K photos are taken, every second, across the world. “5G will bring the power of the cloud to every device,” promised Cristiano Amon.


In other news, Qualcomm revealed it is developing its first cellular chip optimised and certified for Microsoft’s Azure Sphere IoT operating system. Preconfigured with the Azure Sphere platform, comprise of hardware-level security, the chipset will automatically connect to Azure Sphere security cloud services. This is to ensure that the new round of IoT innovations are built on the safest foundation possible, combining security with connectivity, explained Roanne Sones, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, to attendees. “5G is a team sport” summed up, very adequately, Cristiano Amon.

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