Qualcomm spearheads 5G in China, signs $2 bn agreement

Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm
The US-based chipset company Qualcomm Technologies, which is facing a $130 billion takeover bid from Broadcom, is spearheading 5G initiatives in China.

Qualcomm has tied up with leading China based device manufacturers to tap the global 5G market by assisting phone and PC companies for launching 5G New Radio (NR)-compatible devices in 2019.

The semiconductor company’s latest China program is happening at a time when Qualcomm is facing a fine of $1.3 billion by European Commission for breaching sales guidelines when it supplied modems to Apple and restricted the business of rivals such as Intel.

Lenovo, OPPO Mobile, vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE and Wingtech Technology aim to accelerate the availability of 5G devices expected in 2019. Huawei is not part of the list.

The recent 5G Consumer Survey conducted by Qualcomm shows that 60 percent of Chinese consumers are likely to purchase 5G smartphones when available. According to Counterpoint Research, in 2017, seven of the top ten global 3G/4G smartphone manufacturers were from China.

In addition to 5G devices, Qualcomm and Chinese device manufacturers will focus on other transformative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive industry transformation worldwide.

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

“Lenovo started 5G technology research as well as productization since the communications industry began the 5G standard-setting process, and we have been working closely with Qualcomm Technologies in both aspects,” said Yuanqing Yang, chairman and chief executive officer, Lenovo.

Andy Wu, vice president of OPPO, said: “Working on 5G Pioneer Initiative will help us to better innovate 5G mobile technologies, expanding OPPO business on the existing basis and allowing more young people to have access to purchase OPPO smartphones.”

Wei Shen, chief executive officer of vivo, said the company planned to conduct 5G pre-commercial device research and experiments in pace with 5G development, in an attempt to commercialize 5G smartphones as early as 2019.

Bin Lin, co-founder and president of Xiaomi, said the company will be innovating on future technologies, insist on building high-quality smartphones for users worldwide.

Lixin Cheng, chief executive officer of ZTE Mobile Devices, said the company is committed to become a leading supplier of 5G commercial devices and solutions, with plans to launch in 2019.

Xuezheng Zhang, chairman of Wingtech, said the company will build 5G Always Connected PCs in addition to 5G Premium Tier Smartphones.

Qualcomm Technologies has also signed four MoUs with Lenovo, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi to purchase Qualcomm Technologies’ RF Front End (RFFE) components with a value of not less than $2 billion, over three years.

Qualcomm — at the China Technology Day, discussed the global future of mobile technology and how the expanded adoption of RFFE technologies will play an integral role in the rapid evolution to 5G.

Baburajan K