Verizon, Qualcomm drive mmWave tech in GSMA endeavor

Verizon and Qualcomm Technologies are among a group of vendors and operators behind a new GSMA initiative to drive awareness of 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) technology – a fitting endeavor for these two considering their respective investments.

GSMA announced the formation of the global accelerator initiative along with China Unicom, NTT DoCoMo, Telstra and TIM, as well as Verizon and Qualcomm. Ericsson is also part of the effort.

The companies will share mmWave intelligence, best practices and use cases to educate and “inspire stakeholders” around the world. According to GSMA, the initiative aims to underline the role that mmWave plays in unlocking the full potential of 5G.

All of the three major U.S. 5G operators hold mmWave spectrum in their arsenals, although Verizon placed the biggest bet on the higher spectrum bands. Verizon’s Ultra Wideband 5G revolves around the mmWave spectrum it possesses in dense urban areas where it offers super-fast speeds.

RELATED: Verizon adds 4 more mmWave cities, expands 5G Home service

The propagation characteristics of mmWave spectrum are well-known and documented – signals don’t travel far and the whole endeavor is more expensive to pursue than lower-band spectrum, but there’s a lot of it and R&D efforts continue to advance its utility.

GSMA notes that 5G mmWave delivers increased bandwidth, fast data speeds and lower latency to users, particularly benefitting densely populated areas, such as campuses and entertainment and sports venues, to increase network capacity.

RELATED: Qualcomm: 35+ commit to mmWave – and counting

The GSMA-led accelerator initiative will spearhead projects focused on the exploration of everyday business implementations and increasing education efforts around mmWave benefits.

GSMA cites figures showing that a combined mmWave and 3.5 GHz network is estimated to contribute savings of up to 35% in total cost of ownership compared to the sole use of sub-6 GHz bands. It also facilitates the expansion into new areas, such as fixed wireless access (FWA), with fiber-like speeds.

According to the GSA, more than 140 pre-commercial and commercial devices currently support 5G mmWave.

“We’re excited to be assisting our members and partners in unlocking the huge potential of 5G, of which mmWave is a key element. This GSMA accelerator initiative will demonstrate what harnessing 5G mmWave can achieve and inspire others as to its many benefits,” said GSMA CTO Alex Sinclair in a statement.

The group expects that its first stage of its mmWave work will be completed in time for MWC Barcelona in February 2022, complementing the event’s Connectivity Unleashed theme.