MOBILE CHIPMAKER Qualcomm has joined forces with some the largest Chinese phone manufacturers with the goal of bringing 5G phones to market as early as 2019.
Qualcomm said that Lenovo, Xiaomi, OnePlus owner Oppo, Vivo and ZTE have all joined its '5G Pioneer Initiative', which will see the firms work together to create a platform on which premium tier and global 5G commercial devices can be created.
The firm claims that the initiative will aim "to accelerate the availability of commercial 5G premium tier devices expected in 2019", noting that 60 per cent of Chinese consumers are likely to purchase 5G smartphones when they become available.
"5G will bring massive new opportunities to the mobile industry, and we are excited to work with these manufacturers on this 5G Pioneer Initiative," said Cristiano Amon, president at Qualcomm.
"Qualcomm Technologies has close relationships within China's mobile and semiconductor ecosystem, and we'll continue to work with this ecosystem to drive innovation as we move from the 3G/4G era to the 5G era."
As well as working together to build 5G mobes, Qualcomm said the companies will work together to explore other technologies enabled by 5G, including artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Qualcomm also announced on Thursday announced a memorandum of understanding with Xiaomi, Lenovo, Oppo, and Vivo to purchase a total of $2bn of Qualcomm RF chips over three years.
News of Qualcomm buddying-up with Chinese firms comes as it faces troubles in Europe. Earlier this week, the European Commission (EC) whacked the firm with a €997m fine for abusing its dominance of the LTE baseband chipset market in order to prevent rivals from competing.
According to the EC, the company paid Apple to buy the devices exclusively from Qualcomm, thereby preventing rivals from muscling in. µ
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