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Qualcomm to work with more than 40 companies on faster 5G variant

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: A Qualcomm sign is seen at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) -Qualcomm Inc said on Monday it expects to work with more than 40 carriers and telecommunications gear providers that have committed to using the faster variant of 5G networking technology.

Fifth-generation networks use a combination of technologies. The lower frequency version, called "sub-6" by industry insiders, travels well over long distances but is only somewhat faster that previous networks. The fastest version uses higher frequencies and is called "millimeter wave" by Qualcomm, the world's biggest supplier of wireless data chips for smart phones.

Different carriers brand it with their own trade names, such as Verizon's "5G Ultra Wideband."

Qualcomm said at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona that more than 40 carriers and gear makers have committed to using the faster technology in some form.

Among them are China's China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom Company Ltd and Fibocom Wireless Inc, as well as Germany's Deutsche Telekom and Australia's Telstra Corp.

The millimeter wave technology is most useful in dense areas where many people are trying to connect to mobile networks at once, such as sports arenas where many fans are trying to stream video to their social networks.

Qualcomm helped develop the standards that make millimeter wave devices compatible around the world, and phone makers such as Apple Inc have tapped Qualcomm's chips to gain access to the technology.

Qualcomm's chips have a lead over rivals such as MediaTek Inc in millimeter wave technology, so it could get a sales boost if the technology becomes more widely adopted.

"We actually haven't see a whole lot of millimeter wave outside U.S. and Japan, and some limited deployments in Europe and Korea so far, but that's expanding quite rapidly," Durga Malladi, Qualcomm's senior vice president and general manager of 5G technologies, said at a press briefing before the event.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Dan Grebler)