Chinese smartphone maker Oppo Mobiles Saturday said it plans to invest USD 1.5 billion in research and development this year with the focus on developing 5G as it unveiled its first smartphone on the next generation technology.
"Our 2019 R&D investment is budgeted at USD 1.5 billion, focusing on 5G, artificial intelligence, imaging, new material and product form design, as well as flash charging," Henry Tang, Director of Standards for Oppo, told reporters here.
The company also has plans to increase Indian R&D centre headcount by over three folds to 500 in two years.
"Currently, India R&D contributes in the development of mobile systems, camera and network related technologies including in 5G. We have around 160 people right now in India R&D which we will be increasing to 500 by the end of next year," Tasleem Arif, VP and R&D Head, Oppo India, said.
The company said it will be ready for trial in India from the second quarter; however, telecom operators will have to decide on a timeline for tests.
"We will be ready with 5G smartphone in the second quarter for trials in India. We are in discussion with all the three operators - Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea. They will have to decide on trials, " Arif said.
Meanwhile, the company announced its partnership with four global telecom operators -- Swisscom, Optus, Telstra and SingTel.
Henry Tang, Director of Standards for Oppo, said the company has started field trials with some of the operators.
Oppo has partnered with Qualcomm for developing a 5G smartphone on its chipset.
"It (the partnership) will bring 5G to commercial reality in 2019. We are going to bring the first Oppo 5G smartphone to the industry. We are doing everything...to make Oppo a leader in 5G and we expect that this collaboration is only going to increase, Cristiano Amon, President, Qualcomm, said.