Qualcomm, Samsung and the US Battle for Beyond 5G

March 21, 2022

Written by Caio Castro
CATEGORY: Exclusives

In 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the Spectrum Horizons Experimental license – a special category of authorization for frequencies between 95 GHz and 3 THz. Even though the first license of its kind was granted only in 2022, companies have already been issued FCC licenses to research 6G.

According to the FCC’s database, competitors Samsung and Qualcomm have been granted licenses to experiment with sub-Terahertz frequencies. Both companies have informed the FCC that they want to develop new wireless communications systems technologies.

Based on the two companies’ applications, all publicly available, 6GWorld brings details that might indicate what the companies envision for the future of 6G.

Samsung

The South Korean company’s license started in December 2021 and will last until January 2024. Samsung will test a 6G wireless communication system prototype comprising a phased array transmitter and receiver to emulate a cellular base station and mobile device.

The FCC has granted authorization for works in the range between 133-148 GHz, and the experiments will take place in Plano, Texas, within a 500 metres radius. “The end-to-end test is to verify the feasibility of long-range cellular communication in the sub-Terahertz spectrum, in terms of coverage, throughput, latency, beam steering capability,” the company said in its application.

According to Samsung’s filing, the key innovations in this test would be the high-performance phased array using Indium Phosphide (InP), a compound inorganic semiconductor; adaptive beamforming at Terahertz carrier frequencies; and full digital beamforming to support multi-beam communication systems.

Qualcomm

Qualcomm’s license started in January 2022 and will expire in February 2024. The company explained to the FCC that “the experimental license would allow Qualcomm to develop new wireless communications systems technologies for the operating range of 132.5-147.5 GHz in SanDiego, California.”

According to the company, the experiments will include prototype transmitters and receivers. “Higher power transmitters will be fixed and located indoors and outdoors. Mobile devices will operate within the coverage range of the transmitter. Transmission BW [bandwidth] is comprised of four subcarriers at 2.5 GHz each using OFDM [Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing] modulation. Fixed site transmitters will use beam-steering antenna arrays,” Qualcomm details in one document supporting its application.

Spectrum Discussions Heating Up

As anticipated by 6GWorld, 6G has gained some momentum in the public sphere in the United States, especially with other nations – namely China – making strides in 5G and research about 6G.

Currently, the US Congress is scrutinising at least two bills aiming to set up a 6G Task Force. In addition, the FCC has kicked off in late February an advisory group to investigate how the agency can help advance the next generation of wireless communications.

In March, the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing to explore the wireless possibilities of 5G and beyond. House members and experts discussed putting together a spectrum strategy that would position the United States as a global leader in 5G and 6G, especially in opposition to China’s efforts in spectrum allocation.

Featured image by Sawyer Sutton from Pexels

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