With Release 16 of the 3GPP 5G standards slated to be frozen next month and completed in June of 2020, the mobile industry is poised to embrace Standalone (SA) 5G this year. Qualcomm, a leader in 5G technology, introduced yesterday their third-generation modem-RF system, Snapdragon X60 which comes at an opportune time in the evolutionary timeline of 5G standards and marks a thoughtful pivot in Qualcomm's RFFE (Radio Frequency Front End) strategy.
The global race for 5G is on with operators in advanced markets such as the US, South Korea leading the way with the first deployments of 5G networks in their respective markets. Given all the excitement and hype that has shrouded 5G over the last couple of years, telecom operators around the world are under pressure to jump on the 5G bandwagon as governments push to position their economies for the digital era. Especially for the U.S. and China, 5G has become a strategic economic imperative that both countries believe will determine the economy and doctrine that will lead in our digital future. But what does the 5G race mean for the emerging and developing markets? Do operators in these markets have the opportunity to rethink the network to enable new economic possibilities in the era of 5G?
With the advent of 5G there has been growing interest in what the next-generation mobile network technology means for industry. Operators and industrial OT (Operational Technology) players have been investigating the use cases and potential value that the 5G promises and technology can bring to manufacturing, supply chain and the factory of the future. It is commonly known and expected that 5G will bring about massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC), Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC) and enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), but what do these use cases mean for manufacturers? Are these really the 5G promises that matter for the smart factory and the ongoing evolution of Industry 4.0?