Early network launches are consumer-facing but 5G will drive value across the board

Wailea, MAUI—Qualcomm kicked off its third annual Snapdragon Tech Summit today in Maui with company President Cristiano Amon laying out how commercialization of 5G represents a transition much more significant than previous generations of cellular.

Amon, speaking to more than 300 telecom journalists and analysts at the Grand Wailea, said the traditional composition of the telecoms industry is  a company like Qualcomm, an infrastructure vendor, an operator a handset OEM and a regulator. “That was the industry. When we look at 5G,” he said, “…basically every other industry now understands how that technology will modify their business. That’s why 5G is one of the most significant transitions we’ll have.”

Qualcomm Chief Marketing Officer Penny Baldwin, noting that internal research suggest consumer preference for Snapdragon products has increased three-fold in the past few years, said, “A new decade of wireless is here, now made possible by real 5G.”

Attendees to the Snapdragon Technology Summit arriving at Kahului Airport passing through baggage claim were greeted by video boards showing advertisements from Qualcomm rival Intel displaying tropical scenery and the messages like, “We’re paving the way to 5G,” and, “Today, Intel is building the foundation that will help make 5G a reality for everyone.”

This Intel ad greeted attendees to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit arriving at the Kahului Airport in Maui.

Qualcomm has 5G products in market whereas Intel is working toward a product launch in the second half of 2019.

Building on announcements at the earlier 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong, Amon showed a reference device connected to 5G networks set up within the event venue by AT&T and Verizon.

“I will deliver on the promise we made in Hong,” Amon said. “It took a lot of work to get to this 5G icon you can see in the very top. Some people spend a lot of time to do billboards in airports about 5G. We thought we’d do better.”

“I will deliver on the promise we made in Hong Kong. It took a lot of work to get to this 5G icon you can see in the very top.”

Verizon announced this week it will offer a 5G-compatible Samsung smartphone in the first half of 2019 as its mobile 5G network goes live early next year with the promise to “expand rapidly.” Verizon is currently offering a 5G fixed wireless residential broadband service in four markets that’s based on the carrier’s Verizon Technical Forum standard.

AT&T will also offer a Samsung 5G device. The company plans to launch standards-based 5G in a dozen markets by year-end with plans to continue to expand next year. Sprint is also working to launch 5G in the first half of 2019 initially in nine markets. In terms of device support, Sprint has confirmed it will offer a handset from LG and hot spot from HTC.

Verizon and AT&T’s 5G plans will tap the carriers’ millimeter wave spectrum holdings whereas Sprint will deploy using its 2.5 GHz portfolio. All of the launch devices are powered by Qualcomm’s X50 5G modem.

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