Published on October 21st, 2020 | by Alex Novus

Qualcomm Introduces 5G Infrastructure Platforms to Drive Cellular Ecosystem Transition Toward vRAN and Open Interoperable Interfaces

New portfolio of Qualcomm® 5G RAN Platforms is designed to enable a new generation of flexible, virtualized and interoperable cellular networks worldwide

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. today announced a full portfolio of 5G infrastructure semiconductor platforms designed for broad deployment scenarios, ranging from macro base stations with massive MIMO to micro base stations with compact designs, to accelerate the cellular ecosystem transition toward virtualized and interoperable radio access networks (RAN) – a trend driven by 5G. Qualcomm Technologies is introducing three new 5G RAN platform offerings: Qualcomm® Radio Unit Platform, Qualcomm® Distributed Unit Platform, and Qualcomm® Distributed Radio Unit Platform. The new platforms are the world’s first-announced solutions purposely-designed from the ground up to support leading mobile operators in the deployment of a new generation of converged, open and virtualized RAN (vRAN) networks. These platforms are designed to enable infrastructure OEMs to transform public and private wireless networks into a platform for innovation and deliver on the full potential of 5G.

“Our 5G expertise and global technology leadership uniquely positions Qualcomm Technologies to provide a comprehensive horizontal infrastructure platform to enable the deployment of innovative, high-performance, virtualized, and modular 5G networks at scale,” said Cristiano Amon, President, Qualcomm Incorporated. “We are working closely with mobile operators, network equipment vendors, standards bodies and other key stakeholders to make the deployments of these networks a reality.”

The portfolio of 5G RAN platforms is designed to allow established and emerging network vendors to accelerate deployment and commercialization of vRAN equipment and features that address the demands of 5G for both public and private networks. The new platforms offer a fully scalable and highly flexible architecture that supports all 5G functional split options between Distributed Unit (DU) and Radio Unit (RU) for macro and micro deployments – complementing the Company’s current 5G RAN platform offerings for small cells.

The new solutions build on Qualcomm’s pioneering wireless expertise and heritage delivering technology for cellular infrastructure, dating back to the commercialization of 3G network equipment in the 1990’s and 2000’s to the provision of cellular chipsets for small cells over the last decade. Qualcomm Technologies’ infrastructure solutions already power the world’s first at-scale deployment of vRAN by Rakuten Mobile in Japan.

Key highlights of the Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms portfolio:

• From Macro to Small Cells: The solutions offer scalable support for a wide range of infrastructure categories ranging from macro base stations with massive MIMO to small cells.
• High performance Modem-RF: Designed for superior radio performance including high-power, high capacity operation, the Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms feature a comprehensive 5G Modem-RF System including baseband, transceiver, front-end and antenna panels.
• Enabling high performance virtualized products with integrated hardware acceleration: Flexible vRAN architecture with hardware accelerators for modem and fronthaul processing designed to enable high throughput low latency network processing for superior power-efficiency and compact equipment designs.
• Flexible, scalable, interoperable interfaces: Support for all key 5G functional split options between Distributed Unit (DU) and Radio Unit (RU), to allow for the disaggregation of the RAN into standards-based and interoperable modular components.
• Integrated Sub-6 and mmWave solution: Natively integrated Sub-6 GHz and mmWave concurrent baseband support in the Distributed Unit along with global support for 5G sub-6 GHz, mmWave and 4G bands in the Radio Unit.

Qualcomm Technologies is working today with top-tier mobile operators in this transition to next generation infrastructure.


“AT&T has been at the forefront of every generation of wireless technology, including 5G, and we will continue to develop and deploy the most innovative solutions to meet the needs of our customers. But we cannot do it alone, and that is why we are excited to work with Qualcomm Technologies on future 5G network deployments such as vRAN and open RAN,” said Andre Fuetsch, chief technology officer, network services, AT&T Communications. “The Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms portfolio will help us bring new and improved experiences to our customers so we can continue to deliver on the promise of 5G.”


“At BT, our commitment is bringing the most innovative solutions to help our customers optimise their operations and reach new potentials through the power of technology. We’ve continued to push the boundaries of 5G innovation, being the first to switch on 5G services in the UK in May 2019, and working with key technology innovators to co-create, and deliver a host of 5G use cases right across the UK,” Fotis Karonis, chief technology innovation officer, BT’s Enterprise unit said. “ Our collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies has created ground-breaking capabilities and benefits for our customers and industry verticals such as healthcare and smart ports, and we’re delighted for Qualcomm Technologies to continue its important contribution to 5G development and deployment with its 5G RAN platform roadmap.”

Deutsche Telekom

“Deutsche Telekom has a long-standing collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and we have overcome so many technical challenges from wireless telecommunication service evolution in our strategic collaboration. As the undisputed 5G leader in Europe, we are always keen to partner with companies who embrace innovation and push existing boundaries. I welcome Qualcomm Technologies to join in the race of next generation open & virtualized network evolution and I am confident that Qualcomm Technologies will be able to bring innovative and power efficient O-RAN solutions to our eco-system. Congratulations Qualcomm Technologies on today’s announcement about new portfolio of 5G RAN solutions!” said Claudia Nemat, board member technology and innovation, Deutsche Telekom.


“KDDI commercially launched 5G service in March 2020 and is in the process of rapidly expanding network coverage,” said Tatsuo Sato, vice president and managing officer, technology planning, KDDI CORPORATION. “With higher frequencies used in 5G than previous generations, we view that dense networks are one of the keys in 5G network strategy and open network architecture will enable efficient and flexible dense 5G network deployments. We hope the Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms will further drive open architecture of 5G networks to materialize innovative 5G networks and services.”


“After launching the full-scale commercial 5G network, KT has been driving a new era of innovations with 5G networks and services. Collaboration with global 5G leaders like Qualcomm Technologies was very crucial on these 5G developments. With the new Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms, we expect both companies will work more closely together to provide users with reliable, robust and powerful mobile experiences enabled by 5G. As the global leaders in 5G, KT will continue to co-work with Qualcomm Technologies on a 5G path to innovations for the next decade and beyond,” said Hyeon-Seuk Lee, executive vice president, KT.

LG Uplus

“Since the world’s first rollout of a 5G network in April 2019, we are happy to see that our 5G solutions and services are changing the landscape of the entire industry and ecosystem in Korea. A significant part of this success has come from working with industry leaders like Qualcomm Technologies who aims to invent the innovative technologies that makes society better. We are pleased to continue our engagement and collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, offering a vast 5G portfolio, from Smartphone to infrastructure. We congratulate the new Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms,” said Sangmin Lee, chief technology officer, LG Uplus Corp.


“As demand for quicker connections and more immersive mobile experiences grows among global consumers, Qualcomm Technologies has helped ensure our customers can experience the highest-quality entertainment on their devices at top speeds,” said Sadayuki Abeta, vice president, general manager, radio access network development department, NTT DOCOMO, INC. “DOCOMO is driving the activities to make 5G radio access networks more open and flexible with industry leaders, and we have high hopes for the Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms to become a powerful piece to further accelerate these efforts.”

Rakuten Mobile

“Last month, we launched the ‘Rakuten UN-LIMIT V’ 5G service on our fully virtualized, cloud native mobile network, with disruptive technology that allows us to pass on cost savings to our customers,” said Tareq Amin, representative director, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Rakuten Mobile, Inc. “As we expand our coverage with the support of Qualcomm Technologies’ innovative RAN platforms, Rakuten Mobile will continue to pioneer industry adoption of open, disaggregated networks.”

Reliance Jio

“Our long-standing collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies will accelerate the development of a full suite of 5G products and solutions, as Jio continues to support and drive open technologies in RAN,” said Mathew Oommen, president, Reliance Jio Infocomm. “From Silicon to software all the functions of a Software-defined RAN will get tested at Jio Scale. These standards-based open RAN technologies along with the new Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms will help to bridge the gigabit digital gap to deliver the Inclusive Digital Platform that is so much a necessity today for lives and livelihood in India and beyond.”

SK Telecom

“We deeply congratulate Qualcomm Technologies’ launch of the new Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms, which marks a meaningful milestone in its journey. As the leading 5G service provider, SKT has been focusing on bringing new and innovative customer experiences through mobile cloud gaming, immersive media, remote collaboration, smart factory and enterprise applications. We believe that collaborations with diverse industry leaders like Qualcomm Technologies is crucial in order to continue achieving innovations in 5G. We look forward to continuing the journey with Qualcomm Technologies in hyper-connecting our customers with things, people, businesses and society in the post-COVID-19 world,” said Dr Yoon Kim, chief technology officer, SK Telecom.


“We at SoftBank Corp. have been using Qualcomm Technologies’ LTE Small Cell solutions for several years. Today, we are excited that Qualcomm Technologies has announced their entry into the 5G vRAN/ORAN RU/DU market because we believe those solutions will drive innovation and create the most efficient ecosystem for global deployment. We appreciate that SoftBank can enhance 5G infrastructure with Qualcomm Technologies’ solutions, from small cells to micro/macro cell solutions flexibly,” said Tomohiro Sekiwa, senior vice president, mobile network division head, SoftBank Corp.


“In Telefónica, we believe in the evolution of current networks towards a telco cloud e2e model leveraging virtualization. We are intensively working with the commitment of materializing Open RAN in the form of real deployments of full-fledged 4G/5G networks with superior scalability, flexibility and performance towards our customers,” said Enrique Blanco, global director, systems and networks, Telefónica. “That can only happen with the help of a strong ecosystem of industrial collaborators, for which Qualcomm Technologies can make a very significant contribution. We support the active presence of Qualcomm Technologies in the open RAN ecosystem by leveraging their platforms and expertise to help widen the ever growing ORAN ecosystem.”


“During 2020 in our TIM Innovation Lab in Turin we held important lab trials on open RAN technologies in a multi-vendor environment. This was the last milestone of a significant evolution path started in TIM five years ago with Virtual RAN (V-RAN) trials. This technological evolution path is continuing towards the full openness and disaggregation of the Mobile Radio Access based on open source and with open interfaces. All these activities allowed TIM to be at the cutting EDGE of the innovation on network virtualization and automation,” said Michele Gamberini, chief technology and information officer, TIM. “On this line, Qualcomm Technologies’ innovative RAN platforms will contribute to boost the creation of an open radio access ecosystem, enabling new models of Mobile radio access deployment enabling TCO optimization and increasing the achievable performance.”


“Verizon has been at the forefront of developing a differentiated 5G network that will serve as the foundation for the 21st century infrastructure that will shape the future,” said Kyle Malady, chief technical officer, Verizon. “Virtualization plays a key role in our new architecture, and we are very pleased to see Qualcomm Technologies step into this space. Qualcomm Technologies and Verizon together have a long, proven track record of innovation and these efforts will serve to speed new features to the market.”


“At Vodafone, we’re committed to delivering technologies that meet our customers’ ever-increasing connectivity requirements for a great mobile broadband experience. As 5G continues to evolve, networks are shifting toward more open and virtualized models,” said Santiago Tenorio, head of network architecture, Vodafone Group and chairman, TIP. “We support a strong vendor ecosystem. Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms help accelerate Open RAN deployments worldwide is a positive step in ensuring flexible and interoperable network infrastructure.”

Engineering samples of the new Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms are expected to be delivered by the first half of 2022 for select network vendor customers. For more information check our blog.

About Qualcomm
Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind the development, launch, and expansion of 5G. When we connected the phone to the internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our foundational technologies enable the mobile ecosystem and are found in every 3G, 4G and 5G smartphone. We bring the benefits of mobile to new industries, including automotive, the internet of things, and computing, and are leading the way to a world where everything and everyone can communicate and interact seamlessly.

Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of our engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of our products and services businesses, including our QCT semiconductor business.

About the Author


While not travelling, reading, gaming, watching films AND writing reviews and articles, Alex loves exploring the shops of Melbourne searching for classic pop culture trinkets.

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