Vodafone Group combined with Qualcomm and Xiaomi to trial new 5G uplink technology designed to enable faster upload speeds and expand mobile coverage, pitching the tests as the first of its kind in Europe. 

In a joint statement, the companies explained the move involved combining Vodafone’s standalone (SA) 5G with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset and Xiaomi’s next flagship smartphone. By using the three elements to test the advanced uplink technology, the trio were able to record peak upload speeds of up to 273Mb/s. 

This is more than doubled the average speed of “most of today’s smartphones and home broadband services” which stands at 100Mb/s and raises speeds closer to download levels.

With next-generation devices expected to hit the market later this year, better uplink capabilities will enable faster photo and video uploads to social media and the cloud, said the companies. It will also help with increasing demand for VR applications, as well as gaming. 

The boost was made possible by using uplink carrier aggregation technology with Tx switching, which blends multiple transmission channels supported by Xiaomi’s smartphone and mobile antennae.

Chief network officer at Vodafone, Alberto Ripepi, said it wants its customers to “be among the first anywhere in the world to benefit from this new 5G feature when it becomes available” and pointed to its efforts in “driving a stronger vendor and developer ecosystem”. 

The pilot tests were conducted in Spain and Germany, using Vodafone’s commercial SA 5G network in the latter market. 

Vodafone Germany launched commercial SA 5G services in 2021 with Ericsson and Oppo. It also plans to deploy the technology across railway routes connecting the country’s major cities by 2025.

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