Mobile World Congress solidified that 5G is fast approaching with deployments this year. In the US, Verizon is rolling out 5G millimeter wave Fixed Wireless Access in many cities and AT&T is rolling out 5G mobile service. T-Mobile will not be far behind with their dual band 600 MHz and 28 GHz 5G rollout starting Q2 of next year.
China is also pushing the envelope and being more focused on 5G massive MIMO and industrial IoT. China seems more focused on connecting infrastructure and devices while the US is pushing toward higher data rates and capacity to the user as video usage is growing quickly.
Someone said the other day there is no way we will see a millimeter wave handset for a long time, but I see it coming sooner than most think as work is underway to field them in the next few years. While I am sure it will take a long time before it is mainstream, the first ones should hit the market before we know it. Just like a few years ago, no one expected 5G to start deployments to start in 2018 as everyone back then was saying 2020 (or later).
We discussed these trends with Qorvo’s Roger Hall who recently returned from MWC where they released 9 new modules enabling network providers to more easily deploy IoT by adding greater connectivity to existing mobile cellular networks. Qorvo’s small-signal product family delivers high linearity, low power consumption, low noise, small size and excellent integration according to the release and includes transmit linear amplifiers, gain blocks and variable gain amplifiers, as well as attenuators, switches, filters, duplexers and low-noise amplifiers. Roger states in the release that Qorvo has seen the low-band infrastructure market grow about 20 percent in the last year, and it’s just getting started. His group had a very successful 2017 and expects 2018 to be better.
There were a slew of releases at MWC covering NB-IoT, here is a sampling from the MWJ site to give you an idea of the happenings at the module and test level:
- Qorvo® Enables Rapid Deployment of NB-IoT
- SCF Calls for Urgency on Dense Networks to Ensure IoT-ready 5G for Europe
- R&S Becomes Key T&M Partner for Huawei’s NB-IoT Ecosystem
- Nokia Building Dual-Band 5G Network for T-Mobile
- Skyworks, Sequans Launch Industry’s Most Advanced LTE-M/NB-IoT Connectivity Solution
- Rohde & Schwarz Collaborates with Gemalto on Drive Testing for LTE-Advanced Modules
- Anritsu Introduces IEEE 802.11ax Test Solution
- u-blox Introduces Smallest LTE Cat M1 and NB-IoT Multimode Module