Yes, wireless communications are very complex things and Ericsson is still a big player in the mobile industry but these days it makes its money on less sexy infrastructure. It is important that this call was made on a smartphone form factor mobile test device because that's something that no competitor is ready or can show today.
The over-the-air (OTA) call was performed using millimeter wave (mmWave) in the 39 GHz band of the spectrum using NSA (Non-Standalone) mode. It utilized Ericsson’s commercial 5G NR radio AIR 5331 and baseband products as well as a mobile test device with an integrated Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem in the Ericsson Lab in Kista, Sweden.
Ericsson and Qualcomm have both been working together for quite some time and have announced interoperability development testing (IODT) in 2017 using Ericsson’s 5G NR pre-commercial base stations and Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G NR UE prototypes. Both players want to be ready for the official deployment of 5G NR and mmWaves in the first half of 2019 and testing of 5G NR trials that are already taking place with many carriers even today.
Both network infrastructure and 5G NR capable devices are necessary for a successful 5G NR story. What Qualcomm and Ericsson didn’t tell but it is easy to assume is that this phone form factor device packs a Snapdragon 855 + Snapdragon X50 combo something that we will see hitting the market in early 2019.
Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson, said: “Today’s data call milestone with Qualcomm Technologies shows the importance of building the 5G ecosystem. We’re also making headway on commercial 5G by performing interoperability tests on new mmWave bands, giving our customers wider deployment options and the consumers, faster speeds.”
Cristiano Amon, President, Qualcomm Incorporated, said: “Mobilizing mmWave for the smartphone has been seen by many as an impossible challenge, but this demonstration validates that we are on track to bring groundbreaking 5G mmWave experiences to consumers. This successful lab call is a testament to our continued innovation and collaboration with Ericsson, and we look forward to further industry-leading milestones with them as we progress to 5G commercialization of networks and mobile devices in early 2019.”