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Qualcomm Completes 5G NR mmWave Data Call

September 22, 2020

U.S. Cellular, Qualcomm and Ericsson have successfully achieved the first extended range 5G NR millimeter Wave (mmWave) data call in the U.S. on a commercial network. The extended-range data call milestone was completed in Janesville, Wisconsin over a more than 5 km distance with speeds >100 Mbps. This achievement redefines the perception of 5G mmWave spectrum as an urban- or high-density-only deployment technology and offers new opportunities to use current infrastructure for broader 5G coverage.

This milestone demonstrates that mmWave can help close the “connectivity divide” and expand broadband services throughout rural, suburban, and urban communities. This breakthrough gives communications service providers a cost effective way to expand their coverage and deliver 5G experience to communities that previously were not serviced or may have lacked a reliable connection.

It will also open the door for new use cases, which will bring 5G benefits to homes and business everywhere, from urban to rural communities. For example, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) installations can provide a cost-effective way to deliver fiber-like internet speeds wirelessly over mmWave to institutions such as schools, hospitals and town halls, and for addressing some of the “last mile” challenges in rural areas. FWA provides the bandwidth required to support high definition streaming services that can improve experiences like remote education and remote healthcare in suburban and rural environments.

Mike Irizarry, chief technology officer, U.S. Cellular, says, “This is a key strategic milestone in our 5G evolution. Expanding 5G mmWave coverage enables us to offer high-speed broadband services to consumers and businesses in rural areas and underserved communities and reinforces our commitment to technological leadership for rural America. It is a concrete example where U.S. Cellular is driving innovation leadership in extended range technology from Ericsson and promoting the high-power device ecosystem enabled by Qualcomm Technologies.”

Alejandro Holcman, senior vice president, engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. says, “This major milestone of using mmWave for an extended-range 5G data transfer is paving the way to implement fixed broadband services for broad coverage in urban, suburban and rural environments. With the introduction of the Qualcomm® QTM527 mmWave antenna module as part of the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X55 5G Modem-RF System, we are empowering operators and OEMs to offer high-performance, extended-range multi-gigabit 5G broadband to their customers – which is both flexible and cost-effective, as they can leverage existing 5G network infrastructure.”

Per Narvinger, head of product area networks, Ericsson, says, “Ericsson is constantly pushing the boundaries of 5G technology to bring its benefits everywhere across the globe. Ericsson has a long and successful track record in extending coverage across generations of mobile technologies. Working with our partners, Ericsson has now demonstrated the commercial viability of long-range 5G radio capability for mmWave spectrum.”

The milestone was achieved by applying extended-range software to commercial Ericsson hardware – including AIR5121 and Baseband 6630 – and a 5G CPE device powered by the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System with the Qualcomm QTM527 mmWave antenna module.

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