Vodafone UK, Qualcomm Technologies Inc. and Ericsson are conducting ‘over the air’ tests with 5G technology and a device that is similar in size to the 5G mobile phones that are being developed.
5G smartphones will enable extremely high resolution video streaming and gaming on the go and web-browsing at speeds of up to 10 times faster than 4G. The technology is also key to eventually enabling 3D holographic calling on people’s phones – a technology Vodafone was first to demonstrate in the UK last September.
Starting this week, Vodafone has begun lab tests of a 5G smartphone ‘form factor’ test device with a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X50 5G modem using Ericsson radio equipment at the Vodafone Technology Centre in Newbury, Berkshire. This is a major step in ensuring customers get the best 5G experience possible from their phone and the Vodafone network.
The latest test forms part of Vodafone’s UK-wide trial of 5G in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Earlier this week, Vodafone engineers in Salford, Greater Manchester, downloaded an hour and 45 minute-length movie over 5G in just 24 seconds. The same movie over fast 4G (using carrier aggregation) took one minute and 35 seconds to download.
Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said: “We made the UK’s first live 5G 3D holographic call between Manchester and Newbury five months ago. Soon after, we carried the UK’s first 5G call over a live mobile network. Today, we are testing technology that will power 5G smartphones. Another first in the UK.”
Thomas Noren, Head of 5G Commercialization, Ericsson said: “We’re making headway on mobile devices as an integral part of the 5G ecosystem. Ericsson continues to drive the commercial readiness of 5G by future-proofing this ecosystem. Together with Qualcomm, we continue to advance the testing of 5G NR networks with mobile devices and support Vodafone in deploying 5G across the UK.”
Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and president, Qualcomm EMEA, said: “We are excited to be working with Vodafone and Ericsson as we head towards 5G commercialisation. These tests will be instrumental in defining and refining the 5G services consumers will be able to access.”