mate 20Qualcomm is rushing to deliver the X55 5G modem, designed to connect to the true 5G standalone core. The current combination, of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 application processor and X50 modem, will not be acceptable on Chinese networks after 2019. China has decided that 5G phones must be able to connect to the standalone 5G core, which the X50 does not do.

All current 5G systems use 5G for the phone connection but run on the 4G core. They are called "non-standalone" 5G, requiring a 4G network in place. The true 5G core, named "standalone," is not yet ready, but China wants to switch over as soon as practical. China Mobile is hoping for the first quarter of 2020.

The SA core is required for "net slicing." It also has many features that aid software-defined networks and other advanced technologies. But SDN is moving forward without the 5G SA core and it's not clear anyone will want to pay for network slicing QOS for years. Nearly everyone in the West is going slow on 5G SA.

Huawei's Mate-20 5G does support SA. 

At present, every 5G phone except Huawei and Samsung uses the Qualcomm 855, The will change around the end of the year when MediaTek (#2 4G chipmaker) and UNISOC/Spreadtrum ship. As five vendors reach scale, chip prices will fall and phone prices will fall to under US$300. 

dave ask

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Samsung has delivered 5G chip samples to BBK's Oppo and Vivo, the #2 or #3 phones manufacturer. Samsung is facing off against Qualcomm in the 5G market. Qualcomm is unfazed and reportedly moving the production of their next chip from TSMC to Samsung. 

Sprint's 2.5 GHz 5G is delivering 100-500 megabit downloads consistently. That bodes well for China Mobile, using the same frequencies.

Vodafone, BT, and soon 3UK are delivering modestly sized 5G mid-band networks. Vodafone is also live in Spain and Italy. 

Sunrise in Switzerland is using 5G mid-band for fixed wireless in rural areas.  

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Welcome  1,000,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first ten weeks. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 3X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80+% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.