News Feature | November 7, 2018

The Week In 5G: 11/7/2018 – Apple Using Intel Chips For Upcoming 5G Phone, T-Mobile To Roll Out Low-Band U.S. 5G Network By 2020

By Jof Enriquez,
Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq


Apple will use Intel modem chips exclusively in its upcoming 5G-capable iPhone, which will be available in 2020. Citing a source privy to Apple's plans, Fast Company claims that Apple is working on its 8060 chip for prototyping and testing the 5G iPhone, but will ultimately use its newer 8161 5G modem chip in its 2020 phones because of heat dissipation issues allegedly caused by the 8060 modem chip.

Moreover, the source says that millimeter-wave signals to be used by U.S. wireless carriers offering 5G require "some heavy lifting from the modem chips and RF chains," which "causes the release of higher-than-normal levels of thermal energy inside the phone — so much so that the heat can be felt on the outside of the phone."

Hence, the newer 8161 chip is the logical choice for Apple's 5g iPhone, as it will be manufactured using Intel's upcoming 10-nanometer technology, which, according to Intel data, gives substantially greater transistor performance and power compared to Intel's 14-nanometer technology-made chips used in Apple's latest iPhones, as noted in a Motley Fool article.

Apple might not turn to former supplier Qualcomm, as the company's X50 modem also reportedly created heat dissipation issues for other phone makers, according to The Next Web. Recently, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon said at least two major 5G-capable flagships from its roster of 19 OEM partners using Android mobile OS will launch next year. 

One of these partners, Oppo, claims it will bring the first-ever 5G phone to market next year, joining others who’ve claimed they will achieve the feat. This week, Oppo said it was one step closer to its goal, making a successful connection between a modified Oppo R15 smartphone and a 5G network within its 5G communication protocol laboratory, reported

Back in May, the Chinese company demonstrated what it claims was the world’s first 5G video call using structured light technology, and transmitted via 5G NR terminal prototypes from Qualcomm.

The first wave of 5G-enabled smartphones and devices are expected early next year, just as the first 5G networks roll out. In the meantime, U.S. wireless carrier Sprint just turned on its 4G LTE Advanced network nationwide, which gives customers bigger hotspot data and speeds up to twice as fast as its current 4G LTE network. The faster network is made possible by the implementation of massive MIMO technology, a key component of 5G infrastructure.

"It will be faster, simply because we're killing two birds with one stone," John Saw, Sprint's chief technology officer, told USA Today. "When I build these MIMO sites today, I'm actually building for 5G as well." Saw explained that, once the 5G software is available, it will be easier for Sprint to enable across its next-generation network since the hardware is currently being put into place as part of the company's 4G LTE enhancements. 

Sprint plans to launch its 5G network in nine cities in 2019.

In other news, United Kingdom officials put telecom firms on notice that the government is reviewing whether the country was too reliant on a single hardware provider, reported the Wall Street Journal. Although the letter from the government did not specify a company, business executives reportedly believe that China's Huawei likely is the target of the increased scrutiny.

The WSJ notes that "Britain’s major wireless and internet providers use Huawei hardware or services, and it is the dominant provider of gear used specifically to move commercial internet traffic across the country."

Banned in the U.S. by the Trump administration, Huawei has faced similar denials when attempting to enter key markets like Australia. Huawei this week said "it’s not worth the hassle" to bid for 5G core networks in New Zealand, where authorities also are considering a ban on Huawei products, according to RCR Wireless.

Huawei has repeatedly denied that its smartphones and telecom equipment spy on people and governments.

The security of fifth-generation cellular mobile communications and enabling Internet of Things applications will prove vital, particularly in the context of the US-China tussle for economic and technological dominance.

“Given that it is a digital infrastructure for countries, it becomes a critical national infrastructure,” Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm told Fortune in an interview this week. “We see all the operators here in the U.S. investing in 5G. But we see this also happening in other countries.”

The Fortune article continues, "For example, China is rolling out next-generation wireless infrastructure ‘very fast,’” Ekholm says, with a goal to complete the effort in 2020. So are Japan and South Korea. Why so hurried? “Because it impacts the economies in those countries,” said Ekholm.

However, in order to maximize the economic opportunities from 5G, governments must allocate sufficient spectrum to meets the huge demands on 5G mobile networks, according to the GSM Association (GSMA), as reported by Computer Weekly.

"Without strong government support to allocate sufficient spectrum to next-generation mobile services, it will be impossible to achieve the global scale that will make 5G affordable and accessible for everyone," said GSMA. "There is a real opportunity for innovation from 5G, but this hinges on governments focusing on making enough spectrum available, not maximising auction revenues for short-term gains."

The global 5G market is projected to be worth USD 73 MN by the end of 2023, growing at 21 percent between 2017 to 2023, according to data from Market Research Future (MRFR).