Famed for the chips that are planted inside products like smartphones and tablets, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is moving aggressively into a different market segment: the base stations that enable mobile communications.
The big chipmaker announced on Tuesday that it is launching a line of 5G chips and software solutions for the base stations that will power the next-generation wireless service, both for public and private networks. These products, in combination with other components, can be used for several 5G spectrum bands. They can also be deployed in macro base stations, pieces of infrastructure that can service massive numbers of users.
Additionally, the new Qualcomm offerings are compatible with O-RAN (open radio access network), an open base station design standard intended to be supplier-agnostic.
Qualcomm quoted its president, Cristiano Amon, as saying, "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."
Amon added that with its new products, the company is collaborating with various types of companies involved in 5G rollout. These include network equipment vendors and organizations responsible for the technology's standards. Qualcomm did not identify any of these partners, nor did it provide any indication of how these collaborations might impact its business.
5G is the white-hot technology of the moment in the mobile world. The standard promises dramatic improvements in data transmission speed and the reduction of latency. While its rollout is underway, so far (despite considerable hype from service providers) it is only available on a very limited basis, and only with products equipped to harness the technology.