Qualcomm makes 5G advances amid takeover bid

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Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G modem has been selected for use in live, over-the-air mobile 5G NR trials.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G modem has been selected for use in live, over-the-air mobile 5G NR trials.

US-based semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company Qualcomm is ready to commercialise standard-compliant 5G New Radio (NR) products and services over the coming year, amid its continued resistance to a takeover bid from rival Broadcom.

The company announced its Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem has been selected for use in live, over-the-air mobile 5G NR trials with multiple global wireless network operators in both the sub-6GHz and millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum bands.

The modem family has also been selected by a number of global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for standard-compliant 5G NR mobile device product launches starting in 2019.

The announcement was made in San Diego, California, during the company's Snapdragon Lab Tours & Qualcomm 5G day in San Diego, California.

This is despite a hostile takeover bid from rival Broadcom, which this week raised its offer for Qualcomm to $121 billion, saying the bid is the "best and final" offer, according to reports.

Qualcomm rejected the revised offer, but proposed meeting its peer to see whether they can address what it called the bid's "serious deficiencies in value and certainty", reports Reuters.

Should a deal succeed, it would see Broadcom become a tech giant whose products would be used in nearly all of the world's smartphones.

Unfazed by the overtures, Qualcomm yesterday said AT&T, British Telecom, China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, KT Corporation, LG Uplus, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Singtel, SK Telecom, Sprint, Telstra, TIM, Verizon and Vodafone Group will conduct the trials, which will be based on the 3GPP Release 15 5G NR standard.

The mobile 5G NR trials will utilise its 5G mobile test platform and smartphone reference design, which incorporate the Snapdragon X50 chipset and optimise 5G technology within the power and form factor constraints of a smartphone while maintaining interoperability and co-existence with 4G LTE.

"2018 will be a big year for Qualcomm Technologies and the mobile industry overall as we work to execute on the agreed upon 5G NR specification," said Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated.

"These trials demonstrate how we are working with global operators to fuel growth and innovation in the mobile industry and make 5G a reality by supporting a large number of expected commercial launches in 2019. With our proven success in 3G, 4G LTE and RF front-end leadership, Qualcomm Technologies is ideally positioned to deliver the multi-gigabit, multimode products required for the global rollout of 5G."

According to Qualcomm, operator trials will start in 2018 and will utilise spectrum in the sub-6GHz and mmWave bands, which is critical for achieving ubiquitous coverage and enhanced network capacity.

Furthermore, in order to meet the first half of 2019 timeframe, the use of Snapdragon X50 5G modem during these mobile 5G NR trials is expected to prepare operators for the commercial network rollout of 5G, equip OEMs to deliver 5G smartphones, and allow for testing and development across a wide range of use cases and deployment scenarios, says Qualcomm.

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