Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson and Qualcomm crank up 5G volume

5G hype
Image credit: Alex_Bond /

The next Mobile World Congress is fast approaching, and with 5G expected to dominate the proceedings – and with the first commercial launches now rolling out in South Korea – vendors are scrambling to get their 5G-related news out early and generally declare themselves market leaders.

This week, Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson and Qualcomm made some large (and in some cases lengthy) 5G announcements. We have thoughtfully condensed them for you. All will be exhibiting and keynoting and demoing and proselytizing the 5G Gospel in general at MWC 2018.

Take me home, Huawei ROADS

Huawei went the Global Industry Vision route (literally – they call it GIV) with a Pre-MWC 2018 Media and Analyst Briefing in London on Thursday, in which Ryan Ding, executive director of the board and president of Huawei Carrier BG, jammed 5G, IoT, cloud, digital transformation, AI, Industry 4.0, cross-industry collaboration and a ton of market projections for 2025 into one big package.

Ding said Huawei will invest CNY5 billion in R&D for 5G in 2018, and launch a full range of commercial 5G equipment. At MWC 2018 alone, Huawei will launch over 20 new products, showcase the results of its cooperation with over 300 partners, and host five forums. It will also mention its ROADS acronym a lot. (ROADS = “Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, and Social”.) Details within.

ZTE thought of 5G before any of you, possibly

Earlier this week, ZTE issued a 1,200-word press release declaring itself the industry leader in end-to-end 5G. Pick a 5G-related technology, trial or standards effort, and ZTE was there before just about anybody else.

Lead paragraph:

ZTE Corporation … a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, was early in identifying the opportunities opened by 5G and on developing a 5G strategy, as commercial deployments of 5th generation mobile networks, more widely known as 5G, approaches.

So there you go.

Separately, ZTE also announced its new 5G end-to-end network slicing solution (the world’s first, obviously), which allows the resources of a physical network to be flexibly allocated into multiple virtualized network slices in order to adapt to the needs of different industrial services. The solution supports the life-cycle management of slices via its intelligent operation and orchestration system. ZTE says it will also enable cellcos to offer NSaaS (Network Slice as a Service).

You may now upgrade your Ericsson radios to 5G

Ericsson announced it has completed its 5G platform for operators with new solutions for the radio and core network, starting with RAN software based on the new 3GPP Release 15 specs for 5G NR. All installed Ericsson Radio System legacy radios from 2015 will be able to support 5G NR by installing the new software. The software will be commercially available in Q4 2018.

Ericsson also introduced a new category of radio products for urban deployments called ‘Street Macro’ – a new layer between macro and micro. These radios will be mounted on building facades with a smaller footprint but with the necessary strength to deliver network efficiency and coverage.

Ericsson also unveiled new radio products supporting massive MIMO technology, and enhanced its Distributed Cloud solution for cloud application deployment across multiple sites (central, distributed, and edge), which now supports multi-vendor frameworks.

Qualcomm names names for Snapdragon X50 action this year

Qualcomm announced on Thursday released a long list of OEMs and mobile operators who will be using its Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem to build 5G devices and test-drive 5G networks.

On the OEM side: Asus, Fujitsu, Fujitsu Connected Technologies, HMD Global, HTC, Inseego/Novatel Wireless, LG, NetComm Wireless, Netgear, Oppo, Sharp, Sierra Wireless, Sony Mobile, Telit, Vivo, Wingtech, WNC, Xiaomi and ZTE.

On the operator side: AT&T, BT, China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, KT Corp, LG Uplus, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Singtel, SK Telecom, Sprint, Telstra, TIM, Verizon and Vodafone Group.

Qualcomm also said the first commercial launches of multimode 5G devices and networks featuring the Snapdragon X50 will start in 2019.

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