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Qualcomm cracks the LTE code, phones that could work on Verizon, AT&T and Clearwire 4G coming by year-end

Qualcomm cracks the LTE code, phones that could work on Verizon, AT&T and Clearwire 4G coming by year-end
The almighty Qualcomm revealed it is working on an LTE radio chip that will support three frequencies below 1GHz, three above, and one in the high range, like Clearwire's upcoming 2.5GHz 4G network.

This will eventually solve the interoperability problem of the US LTE operators, but the worldwide carriers are using a lot more and different spectrum bands for LTE, so the new radio won't be a global 4G cure-all.

The chip that can support 7 LTE frequencies in total is with the MSM8960 design and will be done with the 28nm process, of course, ensuring lower power consumption. Qualcomm said these radios will be shipping to customers in July, and phones with them are likely to appear by year-end. 

Surprisingly, the chip maker also said it is against an FCC mandate for LTE interoperability, and that the government should let the free market decide which bands to pair, now that there is a chip that can cover so many different network scenarios:
Furthermore, as shown above, carriers holding Lower A Block or other 700 MHz spectrum have many different band combinations to choose from to meet their customers' interoperability needs, both within the 700 MHz band and between any of the long list of other 4G bands. A Band 12/17 combination is merely one such combination, and it would be inappropriate for the FCC to mandate that carriers must make this one combination available on every consumer device.

Because of the difficult interference challenges described herein, the fact that existing technology does not offer a solution to these challenges, and Qualcomm's ongoing innovation and collaboration with all carriers and manufacturers, the commission should not require mobile equipment to be capable of operating over all paired commercial spectrum blocks in the Lower 700 MHz band.

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posted on 06 Jun 2012, 05:07

1. Xperia42 (Posts: 60; Member since: 30 May 2012)

That's cool!

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 06:00 2

2. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 1131; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)

This should help Sprint with their 850 1900 and 2500 LTE frequencies am I correct.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 09:31

9. theoak (Posts: 324; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

2500 is Clearwire ... which Sprint owns something like 54% of.

This is where WiMAX runs now.

Unfortunately 2500 does not have the greatest building penetration.

Either way though ... this is great news for Clearwire when their LTE turns on next year with the gobs of nationwide spectrum that they have.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 18:43 1

38. lsutigers (Posts: 820; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)

Clearwire's LTE network will be based on TD-LTE technology, not FD-LTE like the current carriers (At&T, Sprint & Verizon) have. TD-LTE is interoperable with FD-LTE and is also MUCH better at building penetration in high requencies such as 2500 used by Clear. So, from what I have read, it won't be a problem.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 06:54

3. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

I think the real reason they dont want the mandate to go through is that they might be forced to FRAND out their LTE signal tech, which is the main reason the Crapdragon chips sell at all.. If Nvidia, Samsung, and TI all had access to the same radio tech, many manufacturers would go with them over Qualcomm for chips... as proven by the constant need to switch chips to qualcomm when bringing a phone to america.
Great for the consumer, bad for QC.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 07:03 1

4. dcgore (Posts: 227; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)

Qualcomm is showing that it's ahead of the curve. Their dual core S4 processor performs very closely with the quad exynos, therefore it is fair to say any outperformance by the other chip manufactures will be short lived as their products continue to improve. You will say Crapdragon no more.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 07:08

6. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

the S4 crapdragon is nowhere near the 4412 when the Vsync FPS limiter is off.

Its not ahead of the curve, it owns the LTE curve, which is again why they DONT want to share the tech. If it gets mandated, it will probably get mandated that they have to share the tech. If that happens, their sales of CRAPDRAGON chips will sink. The ONLY reason crapdragon sells so much is because other chips cant do on board LTE or HSPA+42mb and crapdragon can.

dont tell me what i will and wont say.
Once crapdragon can beat exynos or TI in a full on head to head fight with the SAME generation chipsets, then I will stop calling it crapdragon... and not a moment before.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 09:13

7. poddey (Posts: 77; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)

Yeah but Samsung is also moving to an A15 based CPU with only 2 cores with the the Exynos 5 whereas Qualcomm have already brought that to market with their S4. However, the E5 will be made using 32nm process instead of 28nm for the S4.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 09:39

12. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

qualcomm DOES NOT use an A15. They SAY its an "A15 equivilant" which is just marketing mumbo jumbo. In reality its an A9+. It barely edges out the 40nm T3, and doesnt even come close to the 32nm Exynos 4412 when the gloves are off.
When the Pro version comes out, it will be much stronger, but spec to spec its still not as strong as the Exynos 5250 with mali600.

If the American SGS3 was coming with the S4 pro with Adreno 3xx , I wouldnt be complaining. The worst part about the regular S4 isnt the chip itself, its the lackluster and under-performing Adreno 225 chip that comes with it, thats still not as strong as last year's GPU offerings.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 11:42 1

29. ojdidit84 (Posts: 458; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


There's no arguing with Remix. It's like arguing with Taco. Only more rational and with better grammar.

Either way, here's a comparison for all of you of the current generation of chips.


Benchmarks including the One S with S4 of course, SGS3 & One X with Exynos/T3 & S4 and iPad/iPhone for comparisons of CPU & GPU processing performance.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 12:10

33. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

oh, you can argue with me, but you need to come up with hard facts. Im no stranger to changing my mind or being wrong. But I dont back down until proven that way.

Here is my go to for specs comparisons between the chips for this moment in time:


If you look, the only time that the scores on most tests are close is when the GPU is FPS capped like in vellamo and a few others. When they are uncapped (offscreen), the SGS3 runs circles around them. In real life, most apps and games are uncapped.

ALL the chips these days are strong. But when I speak, I speak in pure comparison between chip generations. Its not fanboyism or favortism. It purely is what it is. Poddey seems to be the only one that has figured that out.

And for pure reference, check out the OneX international and OneX ATT versions on that test for a pure chip to chip comparison of the S4 and T3.. since all things are exactly the same otherwise.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 13:05 1

36. ojdidit84 (Posts: 458; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)

Meh, I used to go to Anand for all things cpu/gpu related but they've gone the way of CNet in quite a few of their reviews so I haven't visited them in quite a while.

There's no denying that Exynos would trump the S4 though, but S4 is no slouch either. Worst factor to that equation is that damned Adreno GPU, even with 28nm architecture, and there are some things that quad will always excel at better than dual. They could've used some of that die shrink to beef up the Adreno GPU as that's what Samsung clearly did with the Mali-400, but I suppose that's what Adreno 320 will bring.

As far as raw, uncapped performance, I'm not too much concerned with it at this point with as powerful as mobile processing is getting. I was more disappointed with the fact that this iteration of Exynos wasn't going to have an integrated LTE radio.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 09:29

8. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)

once again ypu dont know what you are talkung about. the IT chipset has alway been very close to the snapdragon. Please show me proof that the TI beat the S3 by a large number

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 09:35

11. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

go look it up yourself. its widely available. in the last generation it was exynos> OMAP > T2 > crapdragon S3.

Are you really so in love with qualcomm your fighting well known year old stats? give it up child.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 09:59 1

15. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)

again you have no proof and just say what you want to hear. I ask for proof but you give me nothing, it us funny because when ever anyone call you out one anything you ask for proof, but anyone else say something you backpadel and ask us to do it overself.
I am not in love with a chipset or have a hatred for one. The fact that my 3D with stock HTC kernel score higher then nexus with ics and rlsony does too show that in fact they are even for the most part

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:16

18. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

no fool, the proof is all over the place. You want to argue over something that was settled last year. So go find last year's tests, and get to it. I have no interest in having the same conversation over and over again. If u want someone to have the same argument over and over again, go talk to taco.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:39

22. skymitch89 (Posts: 1300; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)

Actually, it goes: Exynos>Snapdragon>OMAP>T2. I've videos of devices that have single core processors clocked under 1GHz beat a similar device with a T2.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 09:46

13. tomn1ce (Posts: 212; Member since: 12 Mar 2012)

You just shot yourself on the foot. If Qualcomm can make the chip compatible with LTE that suggest that they are ahead of the curve like dcgore pointed out.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 09:54

14. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

it suggests nothing. did you not read my comment before commenting on it?
Radios and Chips are 2 seperate issues.

They OWN the radio tech market. And they dont want to share. Did you ever stop to wonder WHY No one else can get American LTE on their chips? QC owns the tech and refuses to licence it. It is the anchor that forces manufacturers to use Crapdragon chips. Do you really think HTC WANTED to make 2 versions of the OneX? Obviously they wanted it to have the T3 in it, or they wouldnt have made the international version with the T3 instead of the S4.
Do u think Samsung wants to trade out the exynos for the S4 in the SGS3?? Stop and think for a moment how many phones have to have their chips switched out to work in America and other LTE heavy places. The vast majority of the top end phones (by sales, not individual designs) have a chip switch. Manufacturers DONT WANT to chip switch.. especially Samsung. It forces them to use other's products and pay more than they do for designing their own exynos chips.

Manufacturers DONT have a choice right now.
If you read the article, it says multiple times about how qualcomm is fighting this type of tech to become a legislated standard. If that happens, they will more than likely be forced to FRAND out their radio tech, which loses them a HUGE edge on people buying crapdragon chips.

Good for us, bad for them.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:01

16. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)

They don't own any the patent for lte so how are they cornering the market it is other chipmakers fault

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:14

17. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

they are the ONLY ones that have gotten LTE ON the SoC. That is their tech. no one else has made it work properly without stepping on their patents for that.

Is it really so hard for you?

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:29 1

20. dcgore (Posts: 227; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)

Remixfa, let me try get this. QC is the only one who has been able to get LTE on the SoC, because of this they own the patents. If this is the case, how is it that they aren't ahead of the curve?

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:53

26. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

in RADIO tech, I've said multiple times in this thread that they OWN the curve.. they ARE the curve. Radios are QC's bread and butter.. always have been... long before the crapdragon came out.

However, that does not translate to processor power. That curve belongs to Samsung for the time being.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 11:57

30. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)

the Nexus has an TI 4460 with LTE. The other chipset can have non-integrated LTE modern if they want too.
Is that really so hard for you to understand?

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 09:56

47. Joshua9007 (Posts: 90; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

I will point out that price has more to do with what chip they use for their international phones. If they were able to get the chips at the same price, they might have had the S4 in the international versions, but since they don't need them outside the US, why pay more.
I agree that Qualcomm is basically forcing these manufacturers to use their chips right now because they want to have LTE products for sale now and not wait to develop around qualcomm. I always feel that competition makes better products, so I am not happy that they are doing this, but I feel that it won't last.
Samsung would much rather make their own processors, but in the interest of releasing the GS3 in time to compete with the One X (and other competitors) they opted to just use the S4 chip.
I will be interested in seeing how the new qualcomm 7 frequency LTE radio with the 28nm process will be integrated in the new iPhone5, as they use samsung to manufacture the phones. This will probably be the way that most of the new LTE phones operate in the future.

And for my 2 cents: I want a phone that works well from the time I buy it to the time it is up for upgrade. I don't care what processor it has as long is its able to handle my daily multi-tasking usage without slowing down or crapping out. I would say that most of the mainstream customers agree with me. It's only nerds trying to overcompensate for something where a slightly better score matters. I don't care if it can pull 100 frames per second off screen... I'm just wanting to watch a movie, as long as it is smooth, I'm happy.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:16

19. sniper1087 (Posts: 508; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)

you are aware that exynos is quad core and S4 is dual core right?, compare it with Snapdragon quad core vs exynos quad core and you will see the difference.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:32 2

21. poddey (Posts: 77; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)

He is only interested in raw performance figures (evidence: he just compared the S4 to the quad core T3 and concluded that the S4 only barely edges out the T3 like its a bad thing even though the S4 is 'only' a dual core).

remixfa you're right the S4 is handicapped by the Adreno GPU. The Mali is what is saving the Exynos' bacon right now. :)

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:51

25. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

the Mali is the big difference. In pure CPU clock numbers, the Exynos still edges out the S4, but its not nearly as much of a difference as the GPU side of things.

There are some things like multithreading that are handled better on quad cores than they are on dual cores, no matter what people tell you. That video window feature of the SGS3? Thats something I'm going to be paying close attention to when the American SGS3 gets reviewed, since thats a heavy multithread application that hasnt been attempted on a dual core SoC yet. stuff like that is going to weigh heavily on which version I buy.

Thats why they added more RAM to the american version to try to bypass some of the power deficiencies of the S4 chip.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 11:58

31. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)

proof please

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 18:56

39. lsutigers (Posts: 820; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)

That video window feature app in the SGS3 is called Super Video, its available free in the Play Store and runs just fine on the EVO 4G LTE with other running tasks, no lag at all.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 21:56

42. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

really? I was not aware. I'll look into that.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:47

23. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

find me a snapdragon quadcore.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 12:01

32. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)

You are full of s**t with little to no proof of anything you say. The 4412 has the highest of all the i/o which you say don't matter. That is why their sound is the highest. They also the most optimize because all the part are made by samsung them self.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 15:42

37. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1176; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

Actually, according to a study by Article One Partners and Thomas Reuters, Nokia holds 18.9 percent of the LTE patents followed by 12.5 percent held by Qualcomm and 12.2 percent held by Samsung. So, if this mandate means that companies will have to share their technology then it means both Nokia and Samsung would also lose. Also, I disagree with your conclusion that the only reason Qualcomm sells chips is due to LTE technology. HTC has been a longtime supporter and continued supporter of Qualcomm. That is why you are hearing rumors about upcoming HTC phones using the new S4 quad-core chipsets. Also, Sony uses Snapdragon in their phones as well until they can create a chipset of their own. I would say both of those manufacturers sell more than enough to keep Qualcomm going. Also, Samsung, HTC, and Nokia will ALL use Qualcomm for Windows Phones. So, I just disagree with your conclusion.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 21:55

41. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

a few things on the conclusion:

1) Samsung is the #1 producer of ARM chipsets in the world, easily pouncing Qualcomm.
2) companies are chomping at the bit for exynos. The ONLY thing holding them back now that they got their factories up for expanded production is the lack of LTE/HSPA+ integration.
3) its not about the total percentage of patents you own, its about how important they are to the task at hand. 1 patent can change the entire landscape.
4) HTC and LG have both been experimenting with Tegra chips and others outside of the US where they do not have to worry about American LTE/HSPA+ radios.
5) If samsung were to get their hands on Qualcomm's radio tech and were able to offer Exynos dual and quad core chipsets to manufacturers with built in LTE and HSPA+ compatibility, do you really think they would still buy S4 given the choice? If the strongest chipset is A, and it has the same radio capabilities as B, why would you still buy B... especially if they are about the same cost?

Qualcomm has been a radio manufacturer as along as there have been mobile phones. They own many cornerstone pieces of tech. This just happens to be one of them. A forced FRAND licence is not in their best interest. Again, its in OUR best interests as consumers, but its not in theirs as a company.

2 + 2. Why do u think no one else has been able to accomplish on die LTE/HSPA+? Lack of trying?

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 23:20

43. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1176; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

Well I am not saying it's lack of trying, but I also wouldn't say it's because of patents. Why else is Intel able to make their new chipset the Z2580 with on-die LTE?

How is Sony able to create their new ST-Ericsson (although the name will most likely change soon) NovaThor L8540 processors with on-die LTE?

Also, TI has indicated that on-die LTE chipsets are not the way to go. They believe in separating the processor from the LTE modem. So, I don't think they are pushing for on-die LTE anytime soon.

I'm just pointing out the facts...

posted on 07 Jun 2012, 06:21

44. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

which phones are either one of those chips on in america? There are configurations outside of america that never come into america because they are not compatible. I dont know the nitty gritty of why, but I do know that QC holds the key to it.

saying that keeping the processor separate from the SoC is the way to go, is a nice way of saying "we cant get it to work". Putting it on the SoC saves a lot of space and battery life. So far there is no way to mimic at least the battery savings while they are separate. We've all seen how bad at toll a separate LTE modem can take on battery life.

posted on 07 Jun 2012, 13:42

45. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1176; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

No, TI has decided to no longer make modems and instead just focus on processors. And TI has been in the business for a long time, so I don't think it's a matter of they can't get it to work.

I think we will find out for sure when the next Exynos 5 series chipset comes out. If it offers on-die LTE then obviously it wasn't Qualcomm's fault.

Also, the battery life was abysmal when LTE modems first came out, but as technology is advancing I really don't think that having a separate modem is that much more of a drain. Yes I agree that it does drain the battery more, but I think that with A15 processors coming out and claiming to be 40-50% more efficient than their A9 counterparts, I don't think that it would really matter what kind of modem you have.

The chipsets are also not yet in the US because they are being finalized right now. Intel has come out saying that they will have their chipset ready I believe by 2013. The ST-Ericsson chipset I believe will find it's way into some of Sony's devices by probably next year as well.

I simply believe that in this case Qualcomm by having experience (a lot of experience) in creating radio devices was able to figure out how to put it on the processor first. Samsung has a long history of outsourcing to get their radio chipsets and only recently have delved into the world of making their own. And you can say that well Qualcomm has patents or licenses on their LTE technology all you want, but if other companies are able to either pay for that licensed/patented technology or make it themselves then I don't think it should be hard for Samsung to do the same. Samsung has a lot of money that I am sure they could shell out to use some licensed or patented technology. Again, we will have to wait and see for the Exynos 5 series chipset and if they have on-die LTE or not.

posted on 07 Jun 2012, 15:35

46. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

its definitely a wait and see game.
But all those chips you mentioned you just said are scheduled for 2013. Thats a bit away from now. The exynos was just redesigned slightly during its shrink to 32nm. If they wanted to add an LTE chip, they would have. And again, why wouldnt they? why remove potential sales from the company by outsourcing to a weaker chip?

We'll find out sooner or later. I'm sure some back handed comments by execs or documents will leak out eventually.. they always do.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 07:05 3

5. dcgore (Posts: 227; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)

Why do i get the feeling the chip will be ready just in time for the new model of the iphone's launch.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 09:33

10. theoak (Posts: 324; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

I was thinking the same thing.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:48

24. skymitch89 (Posts: 1300; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)

When you guys are talking down to Snapdragon, you must be thinking about the S1 that is in devices like the Evo 4G and the HTC HD2. Since then, there has been quite a bit of performance enhancements and the Snapdragon line has many variants that all vary based on the technology they're based on. I have an S2 in my Evo Shift and it seems to perform almost just as well as some of the lower clocked dual-core processors.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 11:15

28. JC557 (Posts: 1521; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)

I'd have to agree. The Snapdragon S2 in my Thunderbolt and the S1 in my sister's Droid Incredible run great for the intended usage. I've experienced no lag or problems running most apps on the Thunderbolt. The Snapdragon lines are also efficient when it comes to standby power usage and scale reasonably well. The S4 improves upon this quite a bit.

Of course I'm also using the Droid Bionic and Samsung Droid Charge whenever I feel like it.... awesome thing about utilizing SIM cards.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 12:13

34. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

I get 2 days of battery on my 2 year old SGS1 with performance on the same level or higher than most phones rocking a crapdragon S3 in many tasks... especially the GPU. It cant keep up in hyperthread/multithread applications since its only a single core, but for basic stuff and most games, it outperforms.

the S3 is a major improvement on the S2. Though both use Adreno graphix which were both underpowered for their generations... and still are.

The SGS1 uses Hummingbird with PowerVR.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 12:31

35. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)

Proof please.
I know you are lying off your ass or just dumb. The Hummingbird is an A8 and the s3 is a dual-core A8 or similar. No way a single core A8 is going to be better then an A8. Please have proof.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 21:48

40. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

in case you havent noticed. I'm not really paying attention to your constant trolling and calls for "proof". The proof is out there. Go look for it. I've posted pix of my battery usage and all sorts of stuff before. Go find it.

When you want to have an actual conversation, I'll respond. When you want to be an idiot in the trenches with Taco, then you can be treated like him.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:55

27. skymitch89 (Posts: 1300; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)

Just because Qualcomm will be making chips that will support multiple LTE bands doesn't mean that devices will be able to go from one carrier to another. I'm fairly sure that the device manufacturers will have the chip locked to a specific carrier. The only benefits I can think that this might offer is that manufacturers will not have to buy multiple types of chips for the different carriers (lower manufacturing cost), the manufacturers can offer practically the same device on every carrier, and that LTE roaming might become possible.

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