Qualcomm Announces Its First 5G Modem, The Snapdragon X50

Qualcomm Logo 2016 AH 1

5G is expected to be on show at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, where carriers and telecommunication manufacturers are gearing up to put their equipment on trial during the event. Qualcomm is no exception, and the company has now announced at its 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong that it is in the midst of developing its very first 5G modem, the Snapdragon X50 5G. Carriers and electronics manufacturers will be able to deploy this new modem as part of early 5G trials and deployments at 28 GHz.

Cristiano Amon, EVP, QTI and president of Qualcomm CDMA said in a statement that the Snapdragon X50 5G modem signifies the arrival of 5G, as carriers and OEMs reach the cellular network and device testing phase. The Snapdragon eVP5G modem will utilize Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology along with adaptive beam forming and beam tracking techniques, which will be able to facilitate robust and sustained mobile broadband communication in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments. The new modem from Qualcomm has been designed to be used for multi-mode 4G/5G mobile broadband, as well as fixed wireless services. This means that mobile devices with the Snapdragon X50 5G network will be able to switch to 4G whenever 5G is not available. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon X50 5G modem can be paired with any Qualcomm Snapdragon processor which comes with an integrated Gigabit LTE modem and interwork cohesively via dual-connectivity. It will become an essential for the 5G mobile experience in the future as it will be able to provide a wide coverage layer for 5G networks.

The modem works on 800 MHZ of the spectrum and it is able to support download speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second. A while back, Nokia and US Cellular carried out a test using 800MHz at 28GHz, and they managed to achieve similar speeds to that of the Snapdragon X50 5G modem. According to Peter Carson, the product marketing senior director, the reason Qualcomm is investing in 5G this early is because they want to get through the learning curve, accelerate the learning curve and accelerate the standardization of 5G, where they will then implement 5G on a global scale. The Snapdragon X50 5G modem is set to hit US and South Korean markets during the first half of 2018 and sampling is set to begin in the second half of next year.