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Qualcomm Reveal 5G Modem As Telstra Get Set To Roll Out 1Gbps Modem

As Telstra struggles to deliver a consistent 4G services, Qualcomm has demonstrated the world’s first 5G modem, called the Snapdragon X50.

Qualcomm also announced that will be launching the world’s first gigabit speed device for an LTE network.

Working with Telstra, Netgear will launch a hotspot equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. The LTE hotspot will provide users with download speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

The new 5G processor could theoretically support download speeds on your smartphone of up to 5 gigabits per second.

As a comparison, the average 4G download speed in Australia is 9.3 megabits per second, short of the global average of (13.5 Mbs).

 For example, users will be able to access data in the cloud more quickly than retrieving data from a SanDisk flash storage device.

“At those speeds, it completely transforms what happens on a mobile device,” said Sherif Hanna, a manager of technical marketing at Qualcomm.

Qualcomm said it will start sending samples to customers in the second half of 2017, and phones with the modem inside will begin shipping in early 2018.

But even with a date as early as 2018, don’t expect to get access to 5 Gbps download speeds on your phone any time soon. Getting 5G from the likes of Telstra, Optus or Vodafone could be a few years away.

Qualcomm’s 5G modem will run on the millimetre wave spectrum in the 28GHz band. Millimetre waves don’t transmit over long distances and can’t even penetrate walls.

Instead of building huge cell towers for beaming signals far and wide, network operators will have to start installing many so-called “small cells” base station throughout areas for 5G coverage.

Telstra could do this via the transmitters they have on their old phone booths that are now being used to deliver a free Wi Fi service.

Qualcomm also announced that will be launching the world’s first gigabit speed device for an LTE network. Working with Australian telecom Telstra, Netgear will launch a hotspot equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. The LTE hotspot will provide users with download speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

With this 5G announcement, Qualcomm is trying to rush out ahead of competitors like Intel to demonstrate it still has the world’s best modem technology.

 Qualcomm’s modem chip business was hit recently when Intel won some modem business from Apple. In the latest iPhone 7, Apple is now dual sourcing the LTE modem chip from both chip providers. For Intel, who has mostly sat on the sidelines of the smartphone revolution, it was a monumental and long-sought victory.

The problem for Qualcomm right now is that there’s not enough differentiating the company’s modem technology —  at least not enough for Apple to not dual source its LTE modems. Advancements in LTE radio technology have somewhat plateaued, and now everyone is looking for the next big leap.

Now Intel is of course trying to prepare for 5G too. The company is active in 5G standardization efforts with 3GPP, an international telecom association. The company has also been prototyping and testing 5G modem architecture.

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