The first use of a prototype 5G smartphone in Portugal took place in the headquarters of Vodafone Portugal, in partnership with Ericsson and Qualcomm® Technologies Inc, a subsidiary of Qualcomm® Incorporated.
The live session was made on pre-commercial Ericsson equipment – with a state-of-the-art Massive MIMO Air 6488 antenna in the 3.6 GHz range – and used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon™ X50 chipset. The chipset was in a compact 5G smartphone prototype and for the first time in Portugal the 5G network icon could be seen appearing on screen.
With this demonstration, Vodafone gives another significant technological step in terms of the future of innovation in Portugal. At the same time, the first 5G live session in the Vodafone network made with a smartphone fulfills the 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) standards closed by the Industry for commercialization of this technology.
Mário Vaz, Vodafone Portugal, CEO says: “this moment represents an important technological milestone that, once again, places Vodafone at the forefront of innovation in Portugal. We started this journey towards the Future a year ago, when we did the first 5G tests in laboratory environment and today we unveil a glimpse of the reality that we are going to start living in soon: 5G smartphones out there in the streets, much more versatile and fast, capable of responding to the communication needs of our Customers. Vodafone has always led the introduction of new technologies in Portugal and today we prove, once again, that 5G will not be an exception”, he adds.
Luis Silva, Ericsson Portugal CEO adds: “5G/IoT are some key technology components of this but not the only ones. Government, Academia, Start-ups and Enterprises will play also a very significant role within a business ecosystem that is larger and more widespread and extensive than ever. Imagine the power of an industry with 6 billion subscribers and the potential for innovation with 5G in their hands. Momentum is building in our market and I am sure it will be the starting point for fundamental changes. Fortunately, we have all the ingredients for success in Portugal and Ericsson is proud to be at the forefront of innovation together with Vodafone. We will not miss this opportunity.”
First 5G video call in virtual reality
In addition, the first 5G video call was also performed in Portugal, in a virtual reality environment, between Portugal and USA. The demo, titled Immersive Conference, and allows two people or more to meet in virtual conference using VR glasses. Users are able to talk, move to different rooms, view videos, photos, and 3D objects within the virtual reality environment. This truly immersive experience enables people to collaborate and communicate in one room from anywhere in the world powered by 5G low latency and high throughput.
Another area where low latency will play a decisive role is entertainment, as evidenced by the third demo presented: VR Multiplayer Gaming. In this demo two gamers compete in virtual reality space sport connected over 5G. Gamers can play Sci-Fi ball battle and Racquetball inside giant pinball machine. 5G opens up new possibilities for consumer revenue growth as an enabler of new use cases – Gaming is one of fastest growing industries an important part of many people’s lives. The low latency, high throughput characteristics of 5G provide an excellent experience in cloud based, real-time, multi-player, immersive gaming any time/anywhere.
“Today, Vodafone ascertained, once again, that it has the best mobile network of the country and the most well prepared for the arrival of 5G technology. During the past years we have been working on the preparation of the network for 5G, installing antennas which are agnostic to technology, what means that with a simple software upgrade, they will be ready for 5G. Successful trials like this will enable Vodafone to be a 5G quality leader in Portugal and to match our major competitors in the timing and scale of 5G launches when we have access to appropriate spectrum, network equipment and smartphones. Our initial focus in 2019 will be in major cities,” says João Nascimento, Vodafone Portugal CTO.