Qualcomm Inc, the world’s largest supplier of chips for mobile phones, said it is collaborating with 18 telecoms and 20 manufacturers, including Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), to launch 5G-enabled products beyond mobile devices next year.
It is no surprise that Taiwanese companies showed up on the 5G supplier list, as local firms — primarily original design manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers — have built long-standing partnerships with Qualcomm to commercialize next-generation mobile technologies and take them to the world market.
HTC Corp (宏達電), for instance, in 2007 launched the first smartphone that contained Qualcomm chips, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) makes chips for Qualcomm and had counted the US firm as its biggest client before Apple Inc overtook it.
With 5G technology one step closer to becoming a reality, Qualcomm believes that Taiwan has a good opportunity to benefit from the 5G uptake and play a key role in the mobile industry’s supply chain, S.T. Liew (劉思泰), president of Qualcomm’s Taiwan unit, told reporters on Friday last week.
“There will be a tremendous need for small devices such as sensors, as 5G technology will be mainly applied to Internet of Things devices for manufacturing, rather than mobile phones,” Liew said.
Taiwan has also cultivated software developers who are capable of becoming involved in the development of emerging technologies, instead of just working on easy apps, he added.
Local manufacturers could adopt Qualcomm’s 5G technology to design and produce smart power meters, IP cameras used for surveillance and security, and customer premises equipment, such as routers and small-cell base stations, Liew said.
HTC and Wistron NeWeb Corp (啟碁科技) are using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem to develop products related to virtual reality, augmented reality and customer-premises equipment, Qualcomm said.
Testing is to begin on a range of 5G-enabled devices at the end of this year, Liew said.
Commenting on Taiwan’s progress in moving toward the 5G era, Liew said that local telecoms would probably launch 5G services in line with their global peers, or four to five months after 5G pioneers such as AT&T Inc.
Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) has the advantage of offering 5G services as the nation’s biggest operator and is capable of integrating different wireless technologies and allocating different frequencies for optimal use, said Davis Chen (陳俊宇), a local engineering department head at Qualcomm.
Chen, who moved to Taipei last year after 20 years of working at Qualcomm’s headquarters in California, is in charge of a 160-person team that assists local partners in solving engineering and technological issues, as well as promotes technological exchanges of 5G technology.
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