Qualcomm successfully tests 5G on the X50 modem chip and adds support to T-Mobile's 600MHz Band 71


Almost exactly a year ago to the day, Qualcomm introduced the X50 5G modem. This morning, the chip maker announced that it has successfully tested the chip by achieving a 5G connection. The announcement was made at the company’s 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong. In San Diego, where Qualcomm is headquartered, the company was able to obtain data speeds above 1Gbps. The company has a target of 5Gbps. Qualcomm was able to reach 1Gbps and above by aggregating data from two 100MHz 5G bands. The X50 modem supports carrier aggregation from up to eight 100 MHz bands.

Despite a 500% increase in data speeds, the 5G modem is expected to consume the same amount of power as today's 4G modems do. Qualcomm says that this is due to more efficient amplifiers and intelligent antenna design. In addition, by the time 5G handsets are ready to be sold, the components inside will have shrunk in size by 50%, according to Qualcomm. Thus, the company was able to fit all necessary components into its mmWave 5G reference design phone.

Qualcomm says that it has now pushed ahead the timeline for 5G deployment by 6 months. We should see serious trials next year with a 5G launch in 2019.

Meanwhile, the company also announced a way for smartphone manufacturers to quickly support Band 71, which is the 600MHz low-frequency band used by T-Mobile. The nation's third largest carrier paid nearly $8 billion for 600MHz spectrum that was auctioned off by the FCC. Low frequency airwaves travel farther and penetrate buildings better than their high-frequency counterparts. Right now, only the LG V30 supports T-Mobile's $8 billion investment. Qualcomm's newly announced RF Front End chips are amplifiers and tuners that allow phones with a 700MHz antenna to use the 600MHz band. This saves manufacturers from having to spend a fortune on redesigning the internal antenna layout of a smartphone. And this will work across the entire Snapdragon SoC lineup allowing low-end, mid-range and high-end models to support 600MHz spectrum.

Expect many more smartphones to launch next year with support for T-Mobile's 600MHz airwaves. Sherif Hanna, Staff Manager of Product Marketing for 4G and 5G at Qualcomm, says to expect the new RF Front End chips to be employed in new models coming in the first half of 2018.

source: Qualcomm via PCMag
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