MAUI, Hawaii–In the very near future, access to robust cellular connectivity will be an expectation. Just like with electricity, there will be a pervasive assumption that everything is connected. “We won’t talk about use cases anymore,” Qualcomm EVP Cristiano Amon said during the Snapdragon Technology Summit. “We are just going to assume connectivity is there. It will be implemented in a way that assumes connectivity will be there in the same way we approach electricity today.” 

“5G is about delivering fiber speeds to mobile devices,” Amon said. “It is about reducing dramatically the cost per bit. I don’t think there’s anyone who won’t want to have unlimited data. 5G will allow operators to lower the cost per bit.” 

This new paradigm will fundamentally change user experiences. Connectivity to cloud-based services will be instantaneous. “It will become mobile,” Amon said. “It will create new use cases. It will be the next platform for innovation. 5G is coming much sooner than you thing. 5G will happen in 2019.”

5G will be delivered on the back of a wide-range of spectrum. Sub 6 GHz frequencies will provide pervasive coverage and high-band millimeter wave frequencies will support ultra high capacity. Providing a roadmap to OEMs, Qualcomm has developed a millimeter wave reference design in a smartphone form factor. As this transition continues, gigabit LTE networks will serve as a bridge from today to tomorrow.

“We’re marching forward as fast as we can to be able to have devices..with 5G capabilities in [2019],” Amon said. “We expect to have mass adoption in 2020. The foundation of a 5G network will be a gigabit LTE network that will carry voice and receive an upgrade for latency.” 

Since Telstra launched the first gigabit LTE network in January, there are now 43 operators in 25 countries at some point in the deployment process. “We’re very excited about the traction we have had with gigabit LTE. As we go to 2018, we’re going to see the number going even bigger.” 

Editor’s note: Qualcomm provided travel and lodging. 

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