Qualcomm is party to another 5G first, on Monday announcing a successful large-bandwidth 5G data call over the 700 MHz FDD band with state-owned operator China Broadcasting Network (CBN).
The demo, which Qualcomm said is a world first, came three months after 3GPP in March accepted CBN’s technical proposal for wideband 2x30MHz 700 MHz for inclusion in the 5G standard. That marked the first 5G standard for large-bandwidth sub-1 GHz 5G spectrum, according to the press announcement.
The test used a 5G smartphone form factor device with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System and hit download speeds of 300 Mbps.
CBN, China’s state-owned cable and broadcasting company, is a new entrant in the country’s mobile market after it secured a 5G commercial license from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in June 2019. The Chinese government authorized CBN to use spectrum in the 700 MHz band, as well as the 4.9 GHz band.
For its wireless entry, CBN is partnering with Chinese mobile operator China Mobile to co-build and share infrastructure as part of an 11-year agreement. China Mobile and CBN are using low-band 700 MHz spectrum for the joint 5G network build. The band is meant to deliver wide coverage, fast speeds and deeper penetration in China’s 5G build out.
China Mobile also has nationwide 5G licenses in the 2.6 GHz and 4.9 GHz frequency bands.
The pair will “carry out 5G co-construction and sharing as well as content and platform collaboration,” China Mobile said in May.
“With the goal of creating a business model combining media convergence and 5G, CBN has been sharping our competitive edge based on continuous innovations in 5G technology, content platform and business model,” said Qingjun Zeng, deputy general manager of CBN, in a statement. “Over the past year, we have been actively advancing international standardization and nationwide construction of large-bandwidth 700MHz networks. “
As for Qualcomm, the tech giant said the first wave of 700 MHz-supported devices are already available. It named Vivo, ZTE, Quectel, Fibocom, and Gosuncn as partners that helped launch the initial batch, which includes smartphones, CPE and 5G modules. All of the devices either use the Snapdragon 865 5G Mobile Platform or the X55 Modem-RF system.
Qualcomm scored a major win last week when a U.S. appeals court ruled in favor of the San Diego-based chipmaker, ending in a years-long antitrust battle brought on by the FTC over patent licensing practices
As the leading supplier for 5G devices, the company has already racked up a scorecard of 5G milestones. Qualcomm, which recently set its sights on the RF Front End market as the company’s next big business, completed successful data calls and numerous tests with a bevy of partners in the early days of 5G.
In May, Qualcomm partnered with T-Mobile and other vendors for a standalone 5G data session between commercial modems on a production network, as well as a video over New Radio (ViNR). The same month it partnered with Fujistu to validate sub-6 GHz 5G carrier aggregation with a multigigabit connection data call.
In terms of work with Chinese vendors, recent reports indicated Qualcomm had been lobbying the U.S. to allow it to continue supplying components including for 5G devices to leading telecom and handset maker Huawei. Last month, Qualcomm struck a long-term patent license deal with Huawei as part of settlement. Huawei is expected to pay Qualcomm an estimated $1.8 billion in fiscal Q4 for owed amounts.
Huawei has been in U.S. crosshairs, with the Trump administration pushing for bans from global 5G infrastructure over national security concerns, as well as imposing trade restrictions to cut off access to key U.S. technologies. On Monday, the U.S. tightened restrictions targeting Huawei’s access to commercial chips, which is said are meant to prevent the vendor from getting around export rules.