Nonvoice Chief Sceptical On mmWave Consumer Role


By Mike Robuck

The head of 5G app developer company Nonvoice Agency cast doubt on the potential of mmWave to deliver compelling consumer services, as leading proponent Qualcomm insisted the technology was poised to soar in 2022.

Nonvoice Agency CEO Simon Buckingham told Mobile World Live (MWL) mmWave currently appeared to be limited compared with other 5G spectrum, posing a hindrance to the quality of service consumers expect from mobile services.

Buckingham highlighted the “ultra-small area flakiness and variability that mmWave seems to be as high-band communication technology”, as a threat to the reliable services consumers have become used to, in turn potentially limiting its long-term viability with operators.

The executive noted mmWave could have some limited application in private enterprise scenarios, and possibly small stadiums and arenas where coverage could be engineered to be somewhat ubiquitous and reliable.

But he stated deployments such as that by US operator Verizon appeared to be born more “out of necessity” because it lacked mid-band spectrum.

With this gap being addressed, Buckingham told MWL he would be “surprised” if Verizon and rival AT&T didn’t change tack.

He highlighted a lack of compatibility in the latest iPhone SE 3 unveiled by Apple earlier this month as further evidence of the limited appeal of mmWave for 5G.

Buckingham commented on mmWave shortly before Qualcomm VP of business development Philippe Poggianti told analysts and journalists mmWave was set for a banner year in 2022, due to growing interest from operators, an expanding line-up of compatible devices and spectrum availability.


Qualcomm has long been a proponent of mmWave 5G, so it is no surprise Poggianti was bullish on its prospects.

Poggianti highlighted the well-publicised benefits of mmWave for locations including stadiums, shopping centres, public hotspots and train stations, and noted availability was expanding beyond the US, with mobile operators in a host of Asia-Pacific and European countries among those making moves.

The Qualcomm executive stated 150 device models compatible with mmWave were currently available or in the process of being launched and cited research predicting 20 per cent of smartphone shipments in 2022 would offer the technology.

Poggianti expects these to initially be available on premium tariffs.

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