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MWC 2021: Global mobile industry leaders show commitment to 5G mmWave

Mobile industry leaders unite as key 5G business segment expands its momentum across multiple regions, aiming to allow operators and OEMs to meet rising demand for data and expand into new service opportunities

GSMA, the trade body for global mobile operators, has previously observed that one of the key issues for 5G in 20201 was where and when millimetre wave (mmWave) systems can be cost-effective. Now, a contingent of mobile communications companies has announced collective support for 5G mmWave technology globally.

5G mmWave uses spectrum resources in frequencies above 24 GHz to complement sub-6 GHz roll outs and offer the full potential of 5G, allowing operators to add massive capacity to cellular networks with multi-gigabit wireless speeds and low latency connectivity.

These capabilities will likely see use in applications, giving subscribers fast and responsive connectivity in areas such as fixed wireless, enterprise (such as offices and campuses), Ultra HD video, security, precise remote guidance, telemedicine, smart factories and smart ports.

In its report, The economics of mmWave 5G, the GSMA evaluated the cost-effectiveness of deploying mmWave 5G systems in six different scenarios, including dense urban areas, fixed wireless access (FWA) and indoor deployments.

Proclaiming 5G a commercial reality with 200 million connections by the end of 2020, it calculated that the adoption of 5G will grow to more than one billion connections by the end of 2023 and nearly two billion globally by the end of 2025, and said it is confident that the 5G opportunity for enterprise digital transformation is massive, from use cases such as industrial applicationsautomotive, robotics and healthcare.

Yet despite 5G roll outs and adoption progressing quickly, and with the mmWave ecosystem showing signs of readiness, the GSMA also warned members that if they underestimated the role of mmWave in the short term, they risked finding themselves at a disadvantage to competitors when offering 5G services.

As they attempt to build on this behind 5G mmWave momentum, key players from a growing number of regions – including China, Europe, India, Japan, Korea, North America and South East Asia – are coming together with the aim of addressing the significant increases in user data demand, and to expand the role of the mobile ecosystem in supporting economic development across many industries.

Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies and UScellular recently announced that they had achieved a world record extended range of more than 10km using 5G extended-range mmWave technology on a commercial network.

At the vanguard of the supplier drive is Qualcomm and its partners, including: Airtel, AT&T, Casa Systems, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Electronics Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Elisa, Ericsson, Fastweb, Fibocom, Gongjing Electronic, HMD Global, Honor, Infomark, KDDI Corporation, Kyocera, MeiG, Motorola, NBN Co, Nokia, NTT Docomo, OPPO, Optus, Orange, Partron, Quectel, Rakuten Mobile, Samsung Electronics, Singtel, SoftBank, Sunsea AIoT, TCL Communication, Telia Finland, Telstra, TIM, True Corporation, UScellular, Vivo, Vodafone, Xiaomi and ZTE.

“The global deployment of 5G mmWave is now inevitable. It is essential to achieve the full potential of 5G and those embracing 5G mmWave will find themselves with a competitive advantage,” said Cristiano Amon, president and chief executive officer-elect at Qualcomm Incorporated.

“Support from companies across the ecosystem further demonstrates the global scale and maturity of 5G mmWave. We are proud of our industry leadership in the development, standardisation and commercialisation of 5G mmWave and honoured to work with major mobile industry leaders to accelerate its deployment worldwide.”

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