As 5G is generating a lot of firsts, here’s another one: Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson announced they completed a 5G New Radio (NR) call using a smartphone form factor mobile test device. The call was 3GPP Release 15 compliant.
The over-the-air call was performed using the 39 GHz band and the Non-Standalone (NSA) mode of the standard. It used Ericsson’s commercial 5G NR radio AIR 5331 and baseband products and a mobile test device with integrated Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem in an Ericsson lab in Kista, Sweden.
The significance of this call is it involved a device that is in the size range of a smartphone, as opposed to the size of a bus or other oversized object. Generally, with any migration to a new generation of wireless, the devices are huge until engineers have a chance to get the components miniaturized—something Qualcomm, for one, worked on for some long days and nights.
This latest accomplishment doesn’t change the expected timeline for commercial 5G smartphones, which is early 2019.
“Mobilizing mmWave for the smartphone has been seen by many as an impossible challenge, but this demonstration validates that we are on track to bring groundbreaking 5G mmWave experiences to consumers,” Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon said in a press release. “This successful lab call is a testament to our continued innovation and collaboration with Ericsson, and we look forward to further industry-leading milestones with them as we progress to 5G commercialization of networks and mobile devices in early 2019.”
The companies said this call is a continuation of the interoperability development testing they announced in 2017 that involved Ericsson’s 5G NR precommercial base stations and Qualcomm’s 5G NR UE prototypes.
While this call involved the 39 GHz band, Ericsson indicated that other bands are in the mix as well.
“Today’s data call milestone with Qualcomm Technologies shows the importance of building the 5G ecosystem,” said Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson, in the release. “We’re also making headway on commercial 5G by performing interoperability tests on new mmWave bands, giving our customers wider deployment options and the consumers, faster speeds.”
On Sept. 5, Ericsson announced the RAN Compute portfolio, which includes all the current basebands in addition to four new RAN Compute products that provide up to three times the capacity of current basebands. Two new RAN Compute basebands enable operators to deploy RAN functions centrally, or at the radio site, and two other RAN Compute Radio Processors enable RAN functions to be placed closer to the radio for enhanced mobile broadband and ultralow-latency applications.