Qualcomm has one last 2018 5G fest with TIM in Rome

Qualcomm’s events team has had a frantic end to the year, culminating in the demo of a 5G NR video call over millimeter wave in Italy.

The venue was TIM’s freshly unveiled 5G Innovation Hub in Rome. In attendance were Qualcomm and TIM, of course, but also a host of kit and device partners as well as the great and good of Roman public life, including its Mayor Virginia Raggi (pictured). Most of the presentations were in Italian, but they sounded pretty cool, and there were also a bunch of demos from the various partners.

The highlight of the day was what was claimed to be Europe’s first 5G NR video call, completed over the TIM network using millimeter wave. It made use of a Qualcomm modem and some Ericsson kit. The demo is being positioned as ‘a new milestone that will soon lead to the commercial use of 5G mmWave technology in Europe.’

“When we started to define the strategy and the development plans for 5G, we immediately realized that such a massive challenge could not be faced without the support of a wide range of partners committed to the same goal,” said Mario Di Mauro, Chief Strategy, Innovation & Customer Experience Officer at TIM.

“We therefore proposed Qualcomm Technologies set up a place where work on the new 5G services and every business idea could find a quick realization thanks to the support of leading international technology players, innovative partners and start-ups from the local and national ecosystem.”

“Qualcomm Technologies is very excited to be part of this initiative and we would like to congratulate TIM on the significant momentum they have achieved in a short time with the Hub,” said Enrico Salvatori, President Qualcomm EMEA. “A great example of innovation is today’s demo showing the first 5G mmWave mobile smartphone form-factor mobile test device powered by the Snapdragon X50 5G modem connecting to Ericsson 5G Radio Access Network.

“We are very pleased to be part of the team helping to bring 5G to commercial reality in Italy in 2019 and also to realizing the vision of the Hub. 5G is so much more than new devices and smartphones and it will provide significant growth opportunities in new sectors. The Hub provides TIM with a strong platform to leverage the benefits of 5G to a whole host of new customers and industries.”

We’ll leave it at that for now, but we shot a bunch of video interviews while we were there so keep an eye out for those in the coming days. We can also recommend the Farina Kitchen pizza restaurant, which features a proper wood fired oven and does a very naughty fried pizza starter. Here’s a shot of the 5G call taking place.

TIM video call

AT&T finally does something with its Project AirGig wireline internet thing

Project AirGig is a novel initiative from AT&T in which public power lines are used to guide millimeter wave data transmissions.

AT&T has been banging on about this for a while and at the start of this year took the brave step of announcing ‘advanced discussions’ on the matter. In hindsight even this claim seems to have been excessive since there has been radio silence (pardon the pun) for the 11 subsequent months.

Until now! Actually there seems to have ben one trial in that period and now AT&T is conducting a second domestic one – in Georgia – as well as an international trial. To be fair AT&T has been working on this tech for over a decade, so it’s not too shocking that progress remains gradual.

“Project AirGig is part of our ongoing effort to accelerate internet connections to a gig or more through both wired and wireless solutions,” said Andre Fuetsch, president, AT&T Labs and CTO. “But it also stands alone as a radically innovative solution to bridge the global digital divide. If these trials and our continued research and development turn out the way we intend, we’ll take a big step toward bringing hyper-fast connectivity to people everywhere.”

“AT&T has a long-history of connecting people with their world and is proud to be on the cutting-edge of innovation, now with Project AirGig trials,” said Bill Leahy, president of AT&T Georgia. “Governor Deal and legislative leadership have worked hard to create an environment that welcomes private investment and innovation, and the significant decision to conduct our national AirGig trial in Georgia is evidence of that. We appreciate our collaboration with Georgia Power and look forward to yet another way to deliver gigabit internet connections to consumers.”

But don’t get too excited just yet. AT&T is not committing to any timelines, even for the next stage of development, let alone for commercial deployment. But AT&T says it’s excited by what it has seen so far, so that’s nice. Here’s a vid from ages ago.