A number of global smartphone manufacturers and network operators have chosen Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem for use in live, over-the-air mobile 5G new radio (NR) trials.

They include AT&T, BT, Deutsche Telekom, LG Uplus, Orange and the Vodafone Group, among others.

Qualcomm explained that the mobile 5G NR trials will utilise its 5G mobile test platform and smartphone reference design, which incorporate the Snapdragon X50 chipset. In addition, the trials are intended to optimise 5G technology within a smartphone’s power and form factor constraints, while still maintaining interoperability and coexistence with 4G LTE.

The company said the planned trials aim to commercialise standard-compliant 5G NR products and services over the coming year.

According to Qualcomm, demonstrations at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona – which kicks off on February 26th – will showcase the Snapdragon X50 5G modem achieving download speeds of several gigabits per second, as well as highlight the new use cases and enhanced user experiences that 5G technology will enable.

Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Incorporated, said: “2018 will be a big year for Qualcomm Technologies and the mobile industry overall as we work to execute on the agreed upon 5G NR specification.

“These trials demonstrate how we are working with global operators to fuel growth and innovation in the mobile industry and make 5G a reality by supporting a large number of expected commercial launches in 2019.”

Operator trials will begin in 2018 and will utilise spectrum in the sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands, which Qualcomm said is critical for achieving ubiquitous coverage and enhanced network capacity.

Howard Watson, chief technology and information officer at BT, said that the trials are a “key step” in the commercialisation of 5G and a significant R&D milestone.

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