Qualcomm mmWave parts 230"I told you 5G mmwave phones would be ready by Christmas," email Ted Rappaport, the "Prince of mmWave" and NYU Professor. A second source confirms the likelihood of “a few hundred” phones this year. Qualcomm has now announced they are sampling a small, highly integrated radio frequency and antenna module, the QTM052. I believe they will imminently announce they are sampling the X50 baseband modem and supporting a reference design.

Qualcomm is delivering a year before almost everyone expected the phone. mmWave antennas are really small. One guess is that the little unit at left has 8 of them. The small size of the unit is remarkable. Nothing is certain, of course, until production units are shipping.

Intel, Huawei, and Samsung are chasing as fast as they can as well. Skyworks, Broadcom/Avago, and Qorvo are rushing to have their RF frontends available as well. To protect against U.S. boycotts, the Chinese are speeding research in RF as well.

The early phones will be big, drain batteries rapidly, and very expensive. Few expect large volumes before 2020 and maybe later. No one except Verizon has committed to a major mmWave network this decade, although AT&T, Korea, and China are possible.

 

dave askAugust 2018 Verizon's $20B 5G build is starting to add customers in 2018. Gigabit LTE & Massive MIMO became real in 2017 and enow expanding worldwide. Almost all the other "5G" is mid-band, 70%-90% slower + hype. Europe is mostly pr. The term 5G has been bastardized, unfortunately.

Being a reporter is a great job for a geek. I'm not an engineer but I've learned from some of the best, including the primary inventors of DSL, cable modems, MIMO, Massive MIMO, and now 5G mmWave. Since 1999, I've done my best to get closer to the truth about broadband.

Send questions and news to Dave Burstein, Editor. I always want to hear from you, especially if you catch a mistake.

-------------------

 5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.