Speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Qualcomm CEO Steven Mollenkopf has now reiterated an earlier prediction that early 2019 is a feasible timeline for the arrival of 5G devices. It's an idea that Mollenkopf first put forward several months ago at the Fortune Brainstorm conference in Colorado, but his choice of venues for expanding on the idea makes a lot of sense. That's because 5G networking is seen as a pivotal part of moving self-driving vehicles forward. Mollenkopf also used the platform to expand on that previous prediction to say that the first markets to see 5G appear will likely be in the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
Delving further into the matter, Mollenkopf believes that 5G will be the underlying network that enables a real "vehicle-to-everything" connectivity. Qualcomm envisions a future where cars are in communication with the world around them, including traffic lights, other vehicles, and pedestrians – which will likely be made possible through the incorporation of mobile networks and smart devices as part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Mollenkopf also reiterated that the company's push toward that future will center around new chipsets such as the one it announced back in September – the 9150 C-V2X – and partnerships it has created in conjunction with several mobile network providers. In earlier talks about its new timelines, Qualcomm also hinted that 5G speeds will probably be measured in Gbps – with speeds of up to 20 Gbps – and each of those points likely contributed to the company's confidence in its new 2019 timeline.
Meanwhile, other companies and partnership groups are also working to get 5G connections activated in the real world. For example, one recent test run by Huawei and Deutsche Telekom managed to achieve a connection speed of around 2 Gbps. However, the majority of industry leaders, including Huawei and several mobile service providers, don't agree with Qualcomm's prediction. AT&T, for example, does not believe the technology can be fully implemented before 2020 and that's a sentiment backed up by Huawei, among others. Moreover, the specifications standards for 5 are not expected to be finalized until sometime next year, which may present an even greater challenge to Qualcomm. Bearing that in mind, whether or not its prediction works out will depend largely on what those standards are and how well Qualcomm can adapt if they are not finalized as expected.