Huawei announced its first 5G chip this morning at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which will allow the company’s mobile devices to access the next generation of cellular networks, 5G.
The company claims that its Huawei Balong 5G01 chip is the first to support the new 3GPP standard for 5G networks, and that it should be able to download data at 2.3Gbps. Given the apparent size of the chip, it’s likely that this will show up in mobile hotspots and not phones. Huawei CEO Richard Yu says that his company has invested $600 million in the network technology, which will likely be used by everything from self-driving cars to mobile devices to smart homes. Huawei also manufactures network equipment and says that it will be the first company to offer “an end-to-end 5G solution through its network, devices and chipset-level capabilities.”
The chip would appear to be a challenge to other manufacturers like Qualcomm and Intel. Qualcomm announced its own speedy Snapdragon X24 chip earlier this month, which should help prepare consumers for 5G while we wait for those higher network speeds to arrive, and is already working with a variety of carriers and device makers to install its X50 modem in upcoming devices. Last year, Intel announced its own 5G modem for connected devices like cars and drones, and announced last week that it has partnered with Microsoft, Dell, HP, and Lenovo to install 5G modems in their laptops by late 2019.
5G is the next generation of cellular networks, and it promises to be a considerable leap in speed beyond the current LTE networks that we have right now, but it’ll be a couple of years before we see widespread use. 3GPP — the governing body for cellular standards — rolled out the first real specifications for 5G back in December, and it’s now in the hands of carriers to begin setting up the infrastructure to support the networks. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizonhave all announced plans to begin rolling out the service throughout the country, and largely expect to have nation-wide coverage by 2020.