- The Qualcomm X50 modem, which support 5G networks, has already scored committments from 18 OEMs.
- The OEM list includes major smartphone makers like HTC, LG, Sony, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.
- All these companies plan to help launch the first commercial 5G mobile devices in 2019.
Qualcomm has signed up some major smartphone and telecomm hardware makers for commitments to use its next major cellular modem product, the X50, which will support the next-generation 5G technology. Today, the company revealed that 18 hardware OEMs will use the X50 modem in their products.
The list of smartphone OEMs that will use the X50 modem covers nearly all of the Android phone market. They include HTC, LG, Sony, HMD Global (the makers of the recent Nokia-branded phones), Oppo, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, Asus, Wingtech, and ZTE. Telecomm and network hardware makers such as Fujitsu Connected Technologies Limited, Inseego/Novatel Wireless, NetComm Wireless, NETGEAR, Sierra Wireless, Telit, and WNC will also use the X50 modem in their products.
Samsung is perhaps the biggest name that is not covered in Qualcomm’s X50 announcement, even though it uses Qualcomm processors in its smartphones in the U.S. and other markets. Last week, Qualcomm did announce it is working in partnership with Samsung “in various technology areas and across a range of mobile devices”, but it did not specifically mention Samsung using the X50 modem in its products. Huawei is also not on today’s list, tending to use its own Kirin processors worldwide already, and holds a huge number of 5G patents themselves. They will be in fierce technical competition with Qualcomm.
Qualcomm made a separate announcement today, announcing a number of wireless carriers will use the X50 modem in their own 5G trials. They include U.S.-based carriers like AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, along with Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile in the U.S. Other wireless carriers that will use the modem include British Telecom, China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, KDDI, KT Corporation, LG Uplus, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Singtel, SK Telecom, Telstra, TIM, and Vodafone Group.
The trials will use the 3GPP Release 15 5G NR standards, some of which have been officially approved already, with the rest due to be confirmed later in 2018. They will also use Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G mobile test platform and smartphone reference design, which include the X50 modem. The company will show off those technologies in a few weeks in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress trade show. It said it will demo 5G hardware with download speeds of “several gigabits per second.” Live 5G trials will begin in either late 2018 or early 2019, with official launches from both the smartphone and carrier side to begin later in 2019.
In addition to smartphones, Qualcomm expects its X50 modem to be used in other products, such as always-connected PCs, mobile and home broadband hardware and services, and in virtual and augmented reality devices.