Qualcomm signs agreement with Chinese OEMs to launch 5G smartphones in 2019

Qualcomm has signed agreements with a range of Chinese smartphone manufacturers to ensure 5G-capable devices are ready to launch in 2019.

The agreement — called ’5G Pioneer’ — was signed by phonemakers Oppo, ZTE, Xiaomi, Lenovo, and Wingtech.

Cristiano Amon, President of Qualcomm Incorporated, said:

“5G will bring massive new opportunities to the mobile industry, and we are excited to work with these manufacturers on this 5G Pioneer Initiative.

Qualcomm Technologies has close relationships within China’s mobile and semiconductor ecosystem, and we’ll continue to work with this ecosystem to drive innovation as we move from the 3G/4G era to the 5G era.”

As part of the agreement, the companies will collaborate on the first 5G NR (New Radio) standard-compliant devices. The aim is to have a range of premium 5G devices ready to go next year — packing Qualcomm chips, of course.

Qualcomm claims mobile users in China are showing unprecedented levels of interest in 5G technology. A survey conducted by the company indicates 60 percent of Chinese consumers will purchase a 5G smartphone once they’re available.

Four of the six manufacturers — Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo, and Lenovo — commited to buying $2 billion worth of RF components from Qualcomm over the next three years.

All the announcements were made during Qualcomm’s China Tech Day event in Beijing.

During the event, Qualcomm also shared plans for its upcoming 5G Tunable RF front-end which is designed to enable manufacturers to have thinner designs, higher performing system-level expertise, and 5G product readiness.

“Qualcomm Technologies has long supported the Chinese mobile ecosystem and today’s MoU signings with Lenovo, OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi further demonstrates our commitment to that ecosystem, as well as our strategy to continue to grow our RF front-end business.

Our robust RF front-end solutions help these OEMs to not only build power-efficient devices at scale in a cost-effective way, but also to deliver advanced mobile devices to consumers not just in China, but around the world.”

While Qualcomm is having a great week in China, it’s not having such a good time in Europe.

Yesterday, the European Commission fined Qualcomm €997m for abusing its market dominance in LTE baseband chipsets. Qualcomm is charged with preventing rivals from competing in the market by making significant payments to a key customer on condition it would not buy from rivals.

What are your thoughts on the 5G agreement? Let us know in the comments.

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