Caixin
Jan 25, 2018 07:37 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Qualcomm Plugs In With Four Chinese Smartphone Makers

Qualcomm also launched an initiative to make “premium tier” 5G devices available as early as 2019. Photo: IC
Qualcomm also launched an initiative to make “premium tier” 5G devices available as early as 2019. Photo: IC

U.S. telecommunications company Qualcomm signed memoranda of understanding on Thursday with four Chinese smartphone makers involving $2 billion in potential deals.

Lenovo Mobile Communication Technology Ltd., Guangdong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp. Ltd., Vivo Communication Technology Co. Ltd. and Xiaomi Communications Co. Ltd. have declared their interest in buying Qualcomm’s mobile device components designed to help manufacturers adapt to 5G mobile networks, Qualcomm said in a statement.

The agreements were signed at Qualcomm’s China Technology Day event in Beijing, where the U.S. firm also launched an initiative to make “premium tier” 5G devices available as early as 2019.

The initiative, a joint effort between Qualcomm and six Chinese companies, comes as China races to become one of the first countries to upgrade from existing 4G mobile networks to 5G technology.

Mobile networks are classified by “generation” based on their speed and other technical specifications, with 4G, or fourth generation, systems being the most-advanced type in use around the world today.

International telecommunications standards organization 3GPP set the first formal specifications for what qualifies as a 5G network in December, but telecommunications companies have been trying to make the leap into the next generation for years.

In November, China Mobile, ZTE Corp. and Qualcomm said they had successfully demonstrated a groundbreaking data connection technology capable of reaching 20 times the speed of current 4G networks. ZTE is one of the six Chinese firms participating in Qualcomm’s latest 5G initiative, alongside Lenovo, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi and Wingtech Technology Co. Ltd.

In December, China’s National Development and Reform Commission said it planned to launch basic 5G networks in at least five cities in 2018. China could be planning to roll out a full 5G network around 2020, according to research by investment banking firm Jefferies.

Contact reporter Teng Jing Xuan (jingxuanteng@caixin.com)

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