OnePlus may be known for its “flagship killer” smartphones, but the company has just made small but important development in the future of mobile telecommunications: the worlds first 5G tweet. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau announced the feat October 26 through his personal Twitter account, which is where the tweet originated. He explains the process in a post on the OnePlus forums, which involved connecting a prototype device to a 5G non-standalone network via an LTE b7 + n78 air interface. Once the device was registered on the network, they sent out the tweet.
Carriers and device makers alike have been hard at work preparing for the incoming 5G frenzy, with the first major deployments targeted for the first half of 2019. Companies like Nokia and Ericsson have been hard at work on the telecommunications end, developing the necessary radios and equipment for networks to deploy on. Meanwhile Qualcomm has been another major player in the efforts to make 5G a reality on mobile networks, developing much of the necessary groundwork for chipsets and smartphone reference designs. OnePlus began its 5G efforts back in 2016 when it started the OnePlus 5G Project Team, tasked with making the company a leader in 5G technology. Recently OnePlus joined Qualcomm on stage at the 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong where they announced their partnership in 5G research. This joint effort saw the two combine R&D efforts back in June 2017, and the companies were able to conduct a 5G test in Qualcomm’s San Diego headquarters this past August, just one year later. OnePlus therefore plans to be among the first to release a 5G-enabled smartphone, targeting the first half of 2019 for its launch.
The ability to send a tweet on a non-standalone 5G network provides real, tangible evidence that the beginning is nigh for a new generation of mobile networks. And though it may be a small trial run, it may well be the first true example of 5G actually working. Of course it’s simply dipping a toe to check the waters, as the real test will come once the networks start deploying 5G and device manufacturers give us 5G capable devices. Even then, 5G will only be in its infancy and it will take time to reach its full potential.