Qualcomm Technologies, ZTE, and China Mobile have created a data testing system for 5G networking, which promises to provide wireless data at multiple gigabits per second.

It’s one more step in a years-long process to get us all faster mobile broadband and more reliable calls. The companies created an end-to-end 5G NR test system that demonstrates a data connection based on the 3GPP R15 standard. That means that the companies are making progress trying to test the quality of transmission of data on 5G networks, which could replace the existing 4G LTE networks for mobile calls and data.

The 3GPP standard is important as it is a global 5G radio technology, and this is the first time that a compliant data connection has been made across multiple vendors. Multi-vendor interoperability is a milestone on a path to standard-compliant trials in 2018 and commercial network launches in 2019.

The demo took place at China Mobile’s 5G Joint Innovation Center and used ZTE’s 5G NR pre-commercial base station and Qualcomm’s 5G NR sub-6 GHz prototype chip (which would go in a future mobile device). The system operates in the 3.5 GHz spectrum and supports 100 MHz bandwidth.

“Achieving the world’s first end-to-end 5G NR interoperable data connection is true testament to our 5G leadership, driving toward the timely launch of standard-compliant commercial networks,” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president at Qualcomm Technologies, in a statement. “Qualcomm Technologies is committed to the
continued success of China’s wireless industry and we are excited to collaborate with ZTE and China Mobile to accelerate the path to 5G in China.”

Above: Qualcomm’s 5G testing technology.

Image Credit: Qualcomm

The system is designed to efficiently achieve multi-gigabit per second peak data rates at significantly lower air interface latency than 4G networks. Once put in place over the next few years, 5G networks will be able to handle mobile broadband tasks such as streaming high-definition video and immersive virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, as well as provide reliable services for autonomous cars, drones, and industrial controls.

“China Mobile has been committed to promoting the unified global 5G standard with industry partners,” said Li Zhengmao, vice president of China Mobile Communications, in a statement. “The achievement of end-to-end 5G NR interoperable connection testing, compliant with the 3GPP 5G NR standard, is an important milestone of 5G to productization and pre-commercialization from standard. China Mobile is willing to cooperate with partners including Qualcomm and ZTE to promote that the 5G products continue to mature and the 5G industry marches to success.”