"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 Serge Willenegger, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT, Qualcomm Wireless. By being able to support both 5G and super-fast LTE connections, devices will be able to more seamlessly make that tradeoff between 5G and LTE since the speeds will - hopefully - be more comparable. It's a logical move for Qualcomm, considering that in the early days of 5G networks, coverage will be somewhat limited - especially for mmWave networks, which will likely only exist in highly trafficked areas at first.
On the part of uplink support, the Snapdragon X24 has three carrier aggregation at a frequency of 20MHz, two LTE streams at maximum speeds of 106Mbps, and up to 256-QAM.
For reference, phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Motorola Moto Z2 Force can already download at a theoretical peak of 1 gigabit of data per second, while 5G phones using Qualcomm's X50 modem promise to download up to 5 gigabits per second. We can expect speeds up to 10 times faster than the average 4G network, he added.
Qualcomm announces Snapdragon X24 LTE modem and Wireless Edge Services for new devices
The goal is to launch devices with the Snapdragon X24 sometime in the end of 2018, and that the modem will work in tandem alongside the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem in multimode 4G/5G devices when 5G networks begin to roll out in 2019. Most likely, in many markets, operators and handset makers will opt for the X24 LTE modem because 5G networks will take much longer to deploy in most of the world versus the handful of countries where some carriers are pushing to launch them as quickly as possible. At MWC, Qualcomm will demo those first steps towards a unified 5G framework, but also innovative ways that carriers can share spectrum to make for a more efficient internet in general. We've asked Qualcomm if it can divulge more about its rollout plans for the Snapdragon X24 and will report back if we learn anything new.
"We've come up with a suite of intelligent [radio] components so the modem can change the configuration on the fly", Hanna said, which is why the X24 introduced the company's 7nm fab capabilities. The Snapdragon X24 LTE modem will be featured in a live demonstration at Mobile World Congress Barcelona in conjunction with Ericsson, Telstra and NETGEAR. This unprecedented feature set is created to allow devices that feature the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem to utilize all spectrum assets available from a mobile operator, whether in licensed spectrum, or with License Assisted Access (LAA). It supports Full Dimension Multi-Input Multi-Output (FD-MIMO), a Massive MIMO technology that is foundational to 5G NR networks.
Just as that modem was embedded into the Snapdragon 845 chipset revealed in December, it looks that Qualcomm will integrate the new X24 in its next premium mobile chip, which is expected to power upcoming smartphones. Operators will also be able to use their spectrum more efficiently while delivering high speeds to consumers.
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