UK MOBILE OPERATOR Vodafone has buddied-up with Qualcomm and Ericsson to test its 5G network using an early smartphone prototype.
Voda, which has already claimed Blighty's first trial of full 5G, says the dummy gadget takes the form of a 5G smartphone and comes equipped with Qualcomm's 5G-ready Snapdragon X50 modem and Ericsson's radio kit.
The tests, which will centre around the development and refinement of techniques to stream and download 4K video and conduct 3D holographic calls, are being carried out at the Vodafone Technology Centre in Newbury, Berkshire, and the network claims it's a "major step in ensuring customers get the best 5G experience possible from their phone and the network."
The firm hasn't coughed on the speeds its seen from the fake 5G gadget, but has instead boasted that earlier this week a Voda engineer downloaded a 1 hour and 35-minute movie over its 5G test network in just 24 seconds; the same file took 1 minute and 35 seconds to download over Vodafone's 4G network.
Vodafone chief executive Nick Jeffery swooned: "We made the UK's first live 5G 3D holographic call between Manchester and Newbury five months ago. Soon after, we carried the UK's first 5G call over a live mobile network. Today, we are testing technology that will power 5G smartphones. Another first in the UK."
Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and president at Qualcomm, added that these tests "will be instrumental in defining and refining the 5G services consumers will be able to access."
Qualcomm-powered 5G devices are expected to show up at MWC later this month, with a number of OEMs - including Asus, HMD Global, HTC, LG, OnePlus, and Xiaomi- confirming that they'll be sticking the firm's much-hyped X50 modem into their next-gen devices.
According to recent remarks from the chipmaker, the first 5G devices will be available to buy as early as April - in the US, at least. µ
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