The march toward real-world 5G connectivity continues. Qualcomm announced yesterday that it used a test device with its Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF modules inside to complete an over-the-air data call in the 39 GHz band of mmWave spectrum, using the 5G non-standalone (NSA) mode of the New Radio (NR) specification.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G test platform
Importantly, the test employed network infrastructure provider Ericsson's commercial AIR (antenna integrated radio) 5331 5G radio and baseband system. The two companies have long been testing interoperability between Qualcomm's user equipment and Ericsson's infrastructure, but their past interoperability tests have involved prototypes and pre-production hardware.
Some Ericsson AIR modules, including the AIR 5331
Qualcomm says the companies' successful interoperability testing lays the foundation for service providers and device manufacturers to perform their own field tests of production 5G networks and devices, and will ultimately clear the way for availability standards-compliant 5G NR phones, base stations, and other devices. Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon suggests this milestone is an important step on the way to availability of 5G networks and handsets next year.