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5G networks

Singtel taps Oppo phone for 'first' 5G augmented reality call

Chinese company takes part in test between Singapore and Australia

Augmented reality video conferences could be used for immersive gaming, Singtel and partners said.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Singapore Telecommunications has teamed with Ericsson to make what it claims to be the first 5G augmented reality video call, using an upcoming phone from Chinese maker Oppo.

Call participants on both sides made on-screen annotations in real time, with the notes seen by all parties on the same screen.

High-quality images and voice were transmitted over a stable connection between the live networks of Singtel and its subsidiary Optus in Australia.

"We believe it's the first 5G video AR call done between two countries," a Singtel spokesperson said.

Oppo's test phone is equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon modems. The call "demonstrates our commitment to become one of, if not the first, manufacturer to commercialize a 5G smartphone," Oppo Asia Pacific President Peter Huang said in a statement. "We've been preparing for 5G technology for a number of years and have committed RMB10 billion this year alone in R&D investment."

The 5G-ready phone is expected to be launched later this year and will be showcased at next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the industry's biggest event of the year.

Augmented reality video conferences could be used for on-the-job training and immersive gaming, the companies involved in the test said.

Singtel and Ericsson have been working together on 5G networks. They recently opened a live 5G facility in partnership with Singapore Polytechnic.

Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel, said, "5G is a key enabler that will bring the future of AR, autonomous vehicles and smart cities closer to reality.”

Martin Wiktorin, Ericsson's head of Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines, added: "With the establishment of 5G connectivity on smartphones soon becoming a reality, consumers and enterprises will be able to unleash the full potential of 5G by integrating this new technology into their daily lives and operations."

Fifth-generation, or 5G, networks are expected to bring the commercialization of a range of technologies including augmented reality, by enabling the communication of large volumes of data with little time delay. A number of 5G enabled smartphones are expected to be launched at Mobile World Congress.

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