Qualcomm launches 5G mmWave test facility in Europe

Sony will be the first OEM to make use of the new facility. (FierceWireless)

Qualcomm is expanding its 5G New Radio (NR) European facilities in Farnborough, U.K., to accommodate a new testing center for its end-to-end, over-the-air designs for 5G NR millimeter wave (mmWave). This new facility will allow original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and European operators to refine and perfect network configurations and mmWave technology.

Sony will be the first OEM to make use of the new facility, and the corporation will provide pre-commercial mmWave devices to test their capabilities in multiple deployment scenarios. The mmWave technology is expected to provide greatly increased capacity to mobile devices and laptops in urban areas, and its ability to provide higher data rates also makes 5G ideal for use in such densely populated indoor locations as shopping malls and stadiums. 

Mitsuya Kishida, representative director and president of Sony Mobile Communications, said in a statement that mmWave is the perfect technological companion for sub-6 GHz 5G deployments, and that the company’s next goal would be to bring mmWave to commercial deployment for European operators.

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“[T]his facility will provide our innovative customers with the opportunity to see and test the benefits of 5G NR mmWave technology for themselves,” said Enrico Salvatori, president of Qualcomm Europe. “Utilizing all types of spectrum, including low, mid and high bands, is critical for the success of 5G.”

Elisabetta Romano, chief technology innovation officer at Telecom Italia (TIM), said that TIM and Qualcomm had successfully completed the first 5G NR video call in Europe to employ mmWave technology.

“We also deployed 5G mmWave coverage throughout the San Marino Republic, making it the first European nation to be fully 5G covered. In both cases we implemented the Snapdragon X50 5G modem test device,” Romano said. “With the opening of Qualcomm Technologies’ new 5G mmWave lab, we will continue to work with Qualcomm to accelerate the development of a complete 5G ecosystem to boost and accelerate Italy’s digital transformation.” 

Frederic Vanoosthuyze, chief technology and IT officer for MegaFon, said that in June 2018, Qualcomm had helped his company become the first mobile operator in Russia to demonstrate 5G’s mmWave capabilities.