MWC: ZTE previews ‘first 5G phone’

By:
Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

Chinese vendor ZTE has previewed what it says is the first 5G smartphone, with download speeds of up to 1Gbps

Mobile speeds are set to increase to gigabit rates, with what’s believed to be the first-ever 1Gbps smartphone, unveiled today in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress (MWC).

Chinese vendor ZTE is claiming to have won the race to demonstrate the first phone that will use the still emerging 5G standards, in a collaboration with US chipmaker Qualcomm.

ZTE is officially calling it “pre-5G”, but the industry is moving towards a universal agreed 5G standard, the company’s chief scientist Xiang Jiying told Global Telecoms Business at MWC.

“The target is a global standard for 5G next year,” said Xiang. “We’re finding more and more convergence. Next year we will have a pre-commercial product for 5G.”

Xiang described the device that ZTE announced at MWC as “a prototype handset” but added: “This is the very first [5G] handset.”

He said that “there are no big disagreements” between companies in the mobile industry, with just some “small” differences needing to be resolved between now and 2018. “Before the standard is frozen we will already know the architecture”, so ZTE will be able to start work on network equipment. Any changes that are needed will be taken care of in software, he added. “We will be very fast making changes.”

The pre-5G smartphone uses Qualcomm Snapdragon chip technology, said ZTE in Barcelona today – emphasising the importance of ZTE’s continued relationship with US technology companies.