Qualcomm's X24 Modem Pushes 4G LTE to 2Gbps

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We will see phones with both the X50 5G modem and X24 LTE modem for a few years until 5G is ubiquitous. Qualcomm says it has started sampling the new modem, and expects to demonstrate the X24 live at MWC later this month, in conjunction with Telstra, Ericsson and Netgear.

The X20 Gigabit LTE modem baked into Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 845 SoC is pretty fast, hitting download speeds as fast as 1.2 Gbps.

Still, the launch of this modem serves to blur the line between 4G LTE and 5G. Today a step towards this direction was made with the unveiling of Snapdragon X24 - the first 7 nm process chipset that can support up to 2 Gbps LTE speeds. The new modem is specifically created to deliver peak download speeds of a whopping 2Gbps, which is twice the speed you can presently get from a fibre broadband service.

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The Snapdragon X24 supports up to seven carrier aggregation (topping things like Samsung's latest Exynos chipsets, which supported six carrier aggregation) and 4x4 MIMO antenna arrays on up to five aggregated LTE carriers, which allow for a theoretical maximum of 20 concurrent LTE streams. Well, Qualcomm is targeting the Snapdragon X24 LTE as a form of gateway drug into 5G, offering speeds the next-generation mobile broadband looks to offer but on 4G.

It's not a true 5G chip though, with the firm's already announced X50 chip capable of speeds up to 5Gbps, but it's likely to arrive in phones later than the X24. That could create an opportunity for other smartphone makers to differentiate their devices with the Snapdragon X24, but to do that they will need to build products that can support what the chip has to offer, including massive MIMO, carrier aggregation, 256-QAM and license-assisted access.

Durga Malladi, senior vice president, engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc, said: "In the same way that our early R&D work on 5G led to the accelerated completion of the first 5G NR standard for enhanced mobile broadband, these demonstrations highlight our continued commitment to inventing technologies that help drive the mobile ecosystem forward". At the same time, operators can gain flexibility in using their spectrum assets to offer blazing fast speeds to consumers, while also improving their network capacity and maximizing spectral efficiency.

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Last week a report from Qualcomm stated that almost 50 phone manufacturers and carriers are working with the San Diego towards commercializing 5G mobile devices by 2019.

Think 4G LTE is fast?

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