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New Qualcomm partnership could see first 5G OnePlus and Moto phones launched in 2019

Smartphones with 5G connectivity could be here sooner than predicted, as Qualcomm has partnered with a bevy of Chinese phone makers to bring the mobile broadband tech to their handsets.

Lenovo, Xiaomi, OnePlus owner Oppo, Vivo and ZTE have all joined forces with the mobile chipset maker with the goal of bringing in 5G phones potentially as early as 2019.

Dubbed the 5G Pioneer Initiative, the partnerships will see the Qualcomm and the phone makers work to create a platform on which smartphones and other devices with 5G can be built upon.

“5G will bring massive new opportunities to the mobile industry, and we are excited to work with these manufacturers on this 5G Pioneer Initiative,” said Cristiano Amon, president at Qualcomm Incorporated.

“Qualcomm Technologies has close relationships within China’s mobile and semiconductor ecosystem, and we’ll continue to work with this ecosystem to drive innovation as we move from the 3G/4G era to the 5G era.”

Aiming to have 5G phones and devices in China by 2019 seems like an ambitions move given 5G has been under development for some time with no sign of widely-available devices supporting it, and its arrival has been teased for a few years without anything cropping up.

But Lenovo’s chief executive Yuanqing Yang said the firm has been developing 5G tech for some time: “Lenovo started 5G technology research as well as productisation since the global communications industry began the 5G standard-setting process, and we have been working closely with Qualcomm Technologies in both aspects.”

With that in mind, there’s a decent chance that 5G connected phones could pop up in 2019, or at least in China.

We expect to hear more about 5G development and any devices planning to support it at Mobile World Congress 2018 next month.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S9 release

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