Qualcomm: the protagonist of the 5G network that is revolutionizing technology
Qualcomm began to appear “on our mind map” with the first mobile processors, the well-known Snapdragon. Until then it was a company practically unknown to the consumer. Now when we buy an Android phone, we check which version of the Qualcomm processor the device has installed for reference.
What no one will imagine is that the San Diego-based company, founded in 1985, is one of the oldest in the sector, and that its real activity is in R&D, patenting new technologies that then they are licensed to third parties. Qualcomm currently owns 130,000 patents mostly related to 3G, 4G and 5G. Something that is very clear as soon as you enter the reception of its headquarters with hundreds of framed patents hanging on its walls.
5G is the technology that promises to revolutionize today’s connections giving rise to a new generation of mobile devices. And for the first time in history, a global infrastructure and technology project is not only not delayed, but a year ahead. Originally scheduled for 2020, 5G has already been operating in Spain for months, and in 20 other operators around the world. That’s why we spoke with Ignacio Contreras, Qualcomm’s Marketing Director.
5G is already a reality in Spain. The real question is when will its mass adoption come, that is, when will all phones go 5G.
Ignacio Contreras: «Today there are more internet connections than people, we are not at the same maturity as when 4G was launched. In the first year of 4G existence, there were only 4 phones available and there were also two different standards, LTE and UMTS, so no one wanted to make a mistake in their investment. On the other hand, in the first months of 5G there are already 10 phones on the market, four operators offer it in the United States, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and China. The latter took 4 years to have 4G in its country, but it already has a 5G network today. We are facing another scale, compared to 4G. It will be the fastest technology transition we’ve ever seen. “
At the moment, the current devices are high-end, but little by little 5G will be common in the mid-range terminals and later in the low range. What is very clear is that society increasingly consumes more data and demands new, faster connections. The 4k video, the online videogames, the social networks, autonomous cars and a long etcetera are already collapsed with current networks. For their part, operators are eager to meet this demand and offer new levels of data and services. As Contreras affirms, all parties have a high level of incentive to change, that is the reason that the transition from 4G to 5G it will be very fast.
What makes 5G really different is that will jump to other devices to connect permanently. It is the first system that is not designed exclusively for the mobile phone. Critical services, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, private networks in factories, the massive internet of things are clear examples of the use of 5G.
Permanent connectivity creates a new derivative, a new need. Devices that weren’t connected before, and now are, need to process high levels of information. For example, the autonomous car with large screens will need processors capable of manage 4k video on four or more displays.
Ignacio Contreras: “Providing processors for automobiles is a $ 5 billion business.”
Another clear example of one of these devices is the ACPC, permanently connected with 5G, Snapdragon processor and Windows 10, which has an autonomy of 22 hours. As the Samsung Galaxy Book S presented a week ago in New York.
It is clear that Qualcomm is in the perfect position to exploit years of research in connectivity and mobility.