5G Rollout Will Not Be the End of 4G LTE in India: Qualcomm

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Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm has said it is engaging actively with the telecom ministry and sectoral regulator in India on the potential offered by the next-generation 5G services that are being deployed across countries like the US, Korea and China. Speaking on the sidelines of the Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm Technologies Senior Vice President, Engineering, Durga Malladi said: "Qualcomm has been quite active in terms of engaging with both telecom ministry and the regulator (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) in educating folks on the 5G front". He also emphasised that 5G rollout will not be the end of 4G LTE services. "...when you get to 5G, you definitely aren't letting go of 4G. It's not rip-and-replace in 5G," he explained.


Malladi, however, declined to comment on expected timeline of the 5G rollout in India, stating that spectrum auction is yet to be held in the country, following which airwaves for offering 5G services will be available.

While the Indian government is yet to announce a specific timeline, the industry wants spectrum auction to be held in the latter part of 2019. The government is also upbeat on 5G deployment in the country with Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha recently saying that India "cannot afford to miss the 5G bus". Apart from higher Internet speeds, the advent of the fifth generation of the wireless system or 5G will also enable massive Internet of Things (IoT) deployment that would significantly impact sectors like manufacturing, retail, education and healthcare, among others.

Qualcomm has unveiled its latest generation of mobile phone chips at the Tech Summit. These chips will power 5G smartphones that will be rolled out by handset makers like Samsung next year. Called the Snapdragon 855, the new chip promises to enhance overall mobile phone experience, enable faster speeds compared to the current 4G networks and offer better photography and immersive entertainment to users.

However, users in India will have to wait for some time as telecom operators in the country are yet to announce plans around 5G services, which is expected to provide download speed over 1 Gbps on mobile devices.

Speaking at the Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm Incorporated President Cristiano Amon said 5G would be a commercial reality starting in early 2019, with mobile device launches and network rollouts across the US, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia and China.

He also highlighted that Qualcomm is uniquely positioned to propel 5G deployments across geographies with its new Snapdragon 855 mobile chip and Snapdragon X50 5G modem family. These solutions, he said, will help telecom operators offer 5G services in both sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands.

Operators like Verizon and AT&T in the US have stated that they expect to roll out 5G next year. Apart from higher speeds, the new chip also promises to offer improved gaming and augmented reality experiences. Initially, the Snapdragon 855 is expected to be incorporated by handset makers to power their premium flagship devices.

Samsung expects to bring its first flagship 5G smartphone to the US in the first half of 2019 that will use the Snapdragon 855 mobile platform with the 5G X50 modem. It also demonstrated live streaming of 4K videos on a prototype 5G handset.

Motorola also demonstrated its '5G Moto Mod' that it will be released next year. Users can snap the mod at the back of their Moto Z3 smartphone and start getting 5G speeds. The demo showcased how 250MB files can be downloaded in 4 seconds, while a large 1GB file was downloaded in under 18 seconds.

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Chakri is a go-to guy for your next smartphone recommendation. Back in his engineering days, he used to play with smartphones by installing custom ROMs and that passion got him into the tech industry. He still goes nuts about a smartphone knocking his door for review. Currently managing everything at Telecom Talk, Chakri is trying to master PUBG Mobile in his free time.

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