By Jof Enriquez,
Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq
It's been a week of notable firsts in 5G technology, the mobile communication phase-1 standards for which are scheduled to be finalized also this week.
Qualcomm Technologies unveiled the industry's first 5G NR solution targeted for small cells and remote radio head deployments. The company said the new solution will allow original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) "to reuse both software and hardware designs across sub-6 and mmWave products, supporting high-bandwidth and robust coverage for mobile subscribers around the globe." Customers will have to wait until 2019, though, before Qualcomm's new technology is used in 5G networks, according to Engadget.
What they can expect in around six months' time, though, are 5G-enabled 3D video applications in smartphones made by OPPO, which plans to launch a 5G handset in 2019. This week, the Chinese company demonstrated what it claims was the world’s first 5G video call using structured light technology.
"The demo used colour and 3D depth information collected via a structured light 3D camera on an OPPO phone. This was transmitted via 5G NR (New Radio) terminal prototypes from Qualcomm Technologies and eventually displayed on a remote display screen," reported 5G.co.uk.
Final 5G technologies — including 5G wireless access for ultra-high speed data transfer and ultra-low latency, and the conformance testing method for 5G terminals — will be confirmed by RAN working groups 1 to 5 of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which will convene a meeting hosted by Samsung this week in Busan, South Korea, according to ZDNet.
The completed 5G phase-1 standards are awaited by manufacturers and operators in the thick of the race for commercial 5G rollouts.
“The commercial availability of 5G terminals, globally, is only expected in 2019 as standards and technologies are still being finalised,” said Saleem AlBlooshi, chief infrastructure officer, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, the parent of Dubai-based telecom operator Du, which is planning a limited rollout of 5G services in the United Arab Emirates this year, according to The National.
The carrier said it recently put on air the first 5G site — achieving download throughput of 1.5 Gbps — at its headquarters in Dubai Media City, reported Arabian Business.
Middle East telecom companies are claiming to have the edge when it comes to 5G implementation in the region. Apart from Du, Use's Etisalat, Qatar's Ooredoo, and Saudi Arabia's Saudi Telecom Company (STC) all claim to have 5G-ready networks, according to Light Reading.
In the United States, Verizon, also in heated competition with rival operators, has chosen to use Samsung equipment for Sacramento and Ericsson gear for Los Angeles, two of the 11 markets the carrier is testing for its 5G network, reported Light Reading. Verizon's 5GTF network is scheduled for deployment late this year, and is capable of gigabit download speeds at a range of up to 2,000 feet.