Qualcomm can now claim yet another world first thanks to a partnership between the chip maker and both ZTE and China Mobile. The trio has now announced, via Qualcomm's official blog, the world's first successfully completed end-to-end 5G New Radio (NR) Interoperability Data Testing (IoDT) system to be based on 3GPP R15 standards, supporting the 100MHz bandwidth. The 3.5 GHz data connection was tested at China Mobile's 5G Joint Innovation Center and is said to have been made possible thanks to ZTE's 5G NR pre-commercial base station and Qualcomm Technologies' 5G NR UE prototype.
Although this demonstration does not mean that competing companies aren't also this far along with their own testing, the demonstration could put the three companies in a unique position in the industry. It could, in effect, show that Qualcomm and ZTE are well ahead of the competition in terms of being prepared to build out 5G networks at scale. China Mobile – and indeed China -would also gain reputational recognition as the state-run wireless provider involved in helping that progress move forward. That's going to be advantageous in addressing the ever-increasing number of devices featuring connectivity and the data-intense requirements of next-generation media streaming. Beyond that, the technology is claimed to be capable of multi-gigabit peak data rates, while also maintaining a lower level of lag than current networks. Those features would make it an indispensable piece of the autonomous tech puzzle – particularly where that concerns self-driving vehicles. Moreover, since the network was tested to the as-yet-unfinalized 3GPP standards, the demonstration shows that the companies should be ready to begin updating current networks to 5G once the standards are finalized. It should be said that those standards could ultimately change, of course. That would, unfortunately, render at least some of the work already completed by this 5G partnership either obsolete or useless. However, drastic changes are unlikely this late in the standardization process.
The companies also have another demonstration planned for November 23. That will take place at the China Mobile Global Partner Conference, as the entities involved in the collaborative effort look to cement their place ahead of others in the industry.