Chinese mobile giant Huawei and British telecom provider Vodafone claimed to have made the first 5G data phone call in the world this week, the latest development in the race to faster mobile data connections.
The call, made between a computer in Barcelona and a mobile phone in Madrid, used a dual “4G to 5G connection” which can reach speeds up to eight times faster than the current 4G standard, Xinhua reported.
It adheres to new specifications for 5G, called “3GPP-approved Non-Standalone 5G New Radio standard,” which were agreed by telecoms industry giants in December 2017.
Vodafone added that following Tuesday’s first voice call, it successfully completed a video call using 5G data connection on Huawei’s Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment.
However, some tech commentators are saying it is a stretch to name this Huawei-Vodafone call a “world first.” US companies AT&T and Verizon claimed to have made the first call using 5G data last week, while Intel says it has been trialing 5G connection at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
But Vodafone officials told Spanish newspaper El País that previous tests did not meet up-to-date standards, but rather used experimental settings that wouldn’t be compatible with most current 4G technologies.
Huawei’s head of 5G projects, Yang Chaobin, told Newsweek that his firm would be starting commercial testing with Vodafone in the near future.
As the world’s second largest smartphone maker, Huawei has already announced plans to invest 5 billion yuan (786 million US dollars) into developing 5G this year. The company’s first 5G computer chips and mobile phones are set for release in 2019, according to Sohu.com.
5G stands for “fifth generation” and refers to the newest standard for mobile wireless networks. Telecoms companies expect 5G to be rolled out in 2020, bringing faster internet speeds capable of supporting “the Internet of things” including web-connected household appliances, lights and driverless cars, as well as virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily