Qualcomm has announced it is partnering with a number of Chinese smartphone manufacturers to drive forward the commercial availability of 5G New Radio (NR) devices.

The 5G Pioneer Initiative will bring together Lenovo, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE and Wingtech. The companies said their aim is to accelerate the availability of commercial 5G premium-tier devices expected in 2019.

Last year, Counterpoint Research found that seven of the top ten global 3G and 4G smartphone manufacturers were from China. Qualcomm said there has been great “momentum in innovation and development within the Chinese mobile industry”, while the introduction of 5G is set to result in greater change in the global mobile landscape.

Through the 5G Pioneer Initiative, in addition to its expertise in semiconductor solutions, Qualcomm said it anticipates being able to provide manufacturers with the platform they need to develop premium-tier and global 5G commercial devices.

The company added that, together with leading Chinese manufacturers, it is not only exploring new mobile applications and experiences enabled by 5G, but also focusing on other “transformative technologies” such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). It hopes this will continue to drive technological evolution and industry transformation worldwide.

Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Incorporated, said: “5G will bring massive new opportunities to the mobile industry, and we are excited to work with these manufacturers on this 5G Pioneer Initiative.

“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.”

It comes as Nokia has unveiled its new ReefShark chipsets. The company said they leverage “in-house silicon expertise” to significantly reduce the size, cost and power consumption of operators' networks and meet the requirements of 5G.

ReefShark chipsets for radio frequency (RF) units, such as the radio used in antennas, have been designed to significantly improve their performance. According to Nokia, this results in halving the size of massive MIMO antennas. ReefShark chipsets are also intended to reduce power consumption in baseband units by 64 per cent, compared to units currently in use.

The company has simultaneously outlined the scope of its Future X architecture for 5G, which will form the basis for its new reference silicon design and the foundation of its 5G technology and services portfolio.

Set to be showcased at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, the portfolio comprises a full, end-to-end network that delivers up to three times more data capacity per cell site. It will also offer 30 per cent lower total cost of operation through AI-based automation.

Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks at Nokia, said: "With our 5G Future X portfolio we are opening up network data and network intelligence to our customers to jointly program and tailor machine learning and automation that runs on our new silicon.”

He went on to add that his company now expects to be able to deliver unprecedented capabilities and efficiencies, allowing its customers to transform their service offering for 5G.

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