"The Snapdragon X24 LTE modem sets a major mobile industry milestone, created to provide enhanced mobile broadband and deliver an extremely important gigabit coverage layer for commercial 5G networks and mobile devices that are expected to start launching in 2019", said Qualcomm's Serge Willenegger, SVP and GM, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT.
At its 5G day yesterday (US time), Qualcomm laid out other 5G NR developments on its drawing board, including licensed-assisted access (LAA) for sharing spectrum between licensed and unlicensed applications; and Qualcomm's spectrum-share scheme called 5G MulteFire (a 5G version of a technology that uses unlicensed spectrum for LTE transmissions). The extreme speeds are enabled by aggregating five 20 MHz LTE carriers across three different frequency bands with each carrier using 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM technologies.
The 4G/5G overlap is, like the 3G/4G migration before it, a deliberate strategy: carriers upgrade their 4G networks, and will first deploy 5G in customer-rich zones like central business districts. Last week, the company announced that its Snapdragon X50 would enter testing this year with carriers around the world and feature in 5G phones beginning next year. However, Qualcomm isn't done with 4G LTE technology just yet, which is why it today is introducing the Snapdragon X24.
These guys will be conducting standard compliant trials based on the Qualcomm X50 5G NR chipset for mobile devices including a smartphone form factor.
Qualcomm has previously talked up the 5G X50 modem - boasting speeds up to 5Gpbs, but as it's a 5G chip it will appear in handsets after the X24. Qualcomm expects its 2Gbps modems to pull down real-world averages between 200 and 600 megabytes per second, or Mbps.
The chipset giant has already started sampling the modem, with devices expected to hit the market by the end of 2018. The Snapdragon X24 promises to reach top download speeds of up to 2Gbps.
Demonstrating it live at MWC with partners including Ericsson, NETGEAR and Telstra, the Snapdragon X24 will subsequently become available to mobile OEMs to feature in their products, so we could see the first X24-equipped device launched later in the year - or even at the show. Additional system capacity improvements are made possible through support of Full Dimension Multi-Input Multi-Output (FD-MIMO), a Massive MIMO technology that is foundational to future 5G NR networks.
The Snapdragon X24 LTE modem pairs with an advanced RF transceiver built in 14 nm FinFET process technology, and the Qualcomm® QET5100 Envelope Tracker, making it the first announced modem to support 60 MHz envelope tracking for up to 3x uplink carrier aggregation channels with simultaneous High Power User Equipment (HPUE) support in Band 41, engineered to deliver power-efficient connectivity for the next generation of mobile devices.
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