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How Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 will work with 5G networks

By Ken Wong - on 3 Dec 2020, 1:03am

How Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 will work with 5G networks

The Snapdragon 888 will enable 5G. Image courtesy of Qualcomm.

As we covered yesterday, at Qualcomm's Tech Summit Digital 2020, we saw the company announce the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G mobile platform, its 2021 flagship-tier smartphone chipset. This also comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System.

Smartphone manufacturers such as ASUS, LG, realme, OnePlus, OPPO, Sharp, vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE have announced support for the Snapdragon 888.


A great feature set

The Snapdragon 888 can support multiple 5G SIMs. Image courtesy of Qualcomm.

The 3rd generation Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System allows for global 5G compatibility by offering mmWave and sub-6 connectivity across all major bands worldwide.

It also supports Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (lets carriers run a 5G network over the 4G spectrum), Voice-over-NR (allows voice calls to be made on 5G New Radio), and multiple 5G SIMs.

This makes it easily compatible with the local 5G networks run by Singtel and the M1-StarHub consortium that reside on sub-6 frequencies (for now).


Looking at our local 5G back-end

Image courtesy of Christoph Scholz.

Each Singapore telco already awarded its 5G license also announced their 5G plans and infrastructure rollout partners.

However, thus far, while telcos in Singapore have started rolling out 5G networks, these are “non-standalone” versions of 5G technology and are built mostly on their existing 4G networks. According to their agreement with the IMDA, Singtel and the M1-StarHub consortium, are expected have 5G “standalone” networks covering half of Singapore by end-2022.

Singtel has partnered with Ericsson to provide their 5G SA Core, RAN and mmWave network.

The M1-StarHub consortium is going with Nokia for the Radio Access Network (RAN) with Nokia also providing StarHub’s 5G SA Core and mmWave network. M1 will also be using Nokia for their 5G core but will be looking to work with multiple vendors in the mmWave network. 

TPG will be working with Huawei to roll out localised 5G networks via the 5G mmWave spectrum allocated to TPG over the 26Ghz and 28Ghz bands.


Deploying it overseas

We tested 5G speeds in the US last year.

Many countries are working to deploy 5G networks having recognised that the speed it promises is the key to staying competitive in the global economy.

According to a report by Investopedia, South Korea, China, Japan, and the United States are the countries leading the world in building and deploying 5G technology. But these are closely followed by Sweden, Turkey, and Estonia.

As of January 2020, 5G had been deployed in 50 cities in the United States. In South Korea 5G had been rolled-out to 85 cities with Government officials estimating 90% of Korea's mobile users will be on a 5G network by 2026. China in the meantime had deployed 5G in 57 cities.

In Japan, NTT Docomo began offering consumer 5G services on March 25, 2020.

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