Qualcomm has announced new Snapdragon X24 LTE modem as a precursor to migration to its 5G modem sometime in 2019. The X24 LTE will be an upgrade over X20 LTE modem found on company’s flagship Snapdragon 845 mobile platform.
Qualcomm says the new X24 LTE modem can reach theoretical speeds of 2Gbps, wherever supported by carries, which is a significant improvement over theoretical speeds of 1.2Gbps achieved by X20 LTE modem. It is very likely that X24 LTE modem will find a home in the next premium mobile chipset from the San Diego-based company. Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, the current flagship chipset, is expected to power the flagship smartphones launching over the next six months.
Most rumors suggest that Qualcomm is sticking to one premium chipset this year and the successor to Snapdragon 845 will launch only next year. So, it is possible that X24 LTE based mobile devices will launch only in 2019. The 2019 launch schedule for X24 LTE makes sense since 5G based networks are expected to go live only in late 2019 or early 2020.
Qualcomm says the new X24 LTE modem is capable of supporting up to 7x carrier aggregation on the downlink and 4X4 MIMO on up to five aggregated carriers. In the uplink, the Snapdragon X24 LTE supports Category 20 upload speeds with 3×20 MHz CA and up to 256-QAM. According to Qualcomm, the new X24 is the first commercially announced Category 20 LTE modem with support for 2Gbps speeds. The chipset is also the first to be built on new power-efficient 7nm architecture.
“As the world’s first announced Gigabit LTE modem to achieve speeds of up to 2 Gbps, the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem sets a major mobile industry milestone, designed 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 GmbH.
Qualcomm says it has started sampling the modem and will demonstrate the X24 at MWC later this month in conjunction with Ericsson, NETGEAR and Telstra. All the major telecom service providers have commenced work on gigabit LTE but such high-speed networks are not commercially deployed yet. While Qualcomm will be showcasing 2Gbps speed on its modem, the speed won’t be achievable in realistic conditions.
Qualcomm is the undisputed leader in 4G LTE modem design and it is also proving to be the leader in the forthcoming shift to 5G. The semiconductor company has already showcased end-to-end voice call on 5G NR and has announced new technologies like spectrum sharing and “ultra reliable low latency communication” to boost the performance of 5G networks.
The newly announced X24 LTE modem will serve as an interim chipset as telecom operators upgrade their network gear and prepare to roll out 5G. It will also continue to exist and complement as 5G becomes mainstream among consumers over the next few years.