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Qualcomm Winning 5G Smartphone War

Smartphones equipped with Qualcomm millimetre wave 5G chips have the fastest downlink speeds on the market, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics.

The market research company’s tests using Ookla showed that 5G millimetre wave (mmW) smartphones can achieve speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G LTE, according to the report’s co-author, Guang Yang.

“Millimetre wave 5G not only offers blazingly fast speed, it offers operators massive capacity when deployed in high-traffic areas, and allows operators to roll out new services such as fixed wireless broadband access and indoor private networks within their coverage footprints, making more efficient use of the 5G core network,” he said.

While Qualcomm is the only company currently making mmW 5G chips for smartphones, Strategy Analytics also found that the fastest sub-6 GHz 5G smartphones also use Qualcomm cellular radios, says Christopher Taylor, Director of the RF & Wireless Component service at Strategy Analytics.

“In 4G LTE, Qualcomm stayed ahead of the competition by aggressively developing cellular radio chipsets (digital processors and RF transceivers) with the highest connection speeds and lowest dropped call rates using carrier aggregation, MIMO, interference cancellation and other radio capabilities.

“In 5G, Qualcomm has extended its efforts with millimetre wave and their Snapdragon Modem-RF solutions, complete radios from the digital processor all the way to the antenna. Here they have done surprisingly well in competition with the established, and well-regarded RF front-end component suppliers Skyworks, Qorvo, Broadcom and Murata,” he said.

Staregy Analytics estimates that Qualcomm has an 18-month head start on companies such as Huawei, Samsung, and MediaTek, which may introduce mmW cellular radio chipsets and mmW RF subsystems next year.

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