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5G phones expected in 2019 thanks to Chinese, Qualcomm pact

Qualcomm and some of the hottest Chinese manufacturers will work together to build phones with next-generation wireless technology.

Big Booths of CES 2018: Central Hall
Qualcomm talked up 5G at CES earlier this month. 
Sarah Tew/CNET

The reality of a 5G phone is closer than you think.

Mobile chip giant Qualcomm on Thursday announced a partnership with several of the largest Chinese phone manufacturers, including Lenovo (Motorola's parent), Xiaomi, ZTE, Oppo (OnePlus' owner) and Vivo, to build 5G phones as early as 2019. 

Under the "5G Pioneer" initiative, Qualcomm will help create a platform for the companies to build phones running on 5G, the next generation of wireless technology that promises more speed and better coverage. 5G, one of the hottest trends in tech, is considered the foundation for a number of growing segments such as self-driving cars and artificial intelligence. 

Qualcomm also said Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi signed a deal to use Qualcomm radio technology worth a total of $2 billion over three years. 

It's a win for Qualcomm at a time when the company has been defending itself from an unsolicited bid from rival Broadcom. Qualcomm has rejected Broadcom's $130 billion bid to combine the companies, asserting the Qualcomm that is worth more than the offer.