Qualcomm marks Snapdragon X65 milestone ahead of China mmWave rollouts

Qualcomm Snapdragon X65
The Snapdragon X65 system supports solutions for phones, mobile broadband, compute, XR, industrial IoT, 5G private networks and fixed wireless access. (Qualcomm)

With an eye toward rollouts in China, Qualcomm Technologies announced that it completed the world’s first 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) data connection with support for 200 MHz carrier bandwidth.

To accomplish the milestone, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System powered a smartphone form-factor test device. It also enlisted the help of Keysight Technologies for its 5G Network Emulation Solution, which supports a range of spectrum band requirements.

“This milestone supports and enables acceleration of 5G mmWave adoption, in anticipation of 5G mmWave rollouts in China, while enhancing coverage, power efficiency and performance for users, through the advanced features and capabilities of the Snapdragon X65,” said Alberto Cicalini, senior director, product management at Qualcomm Europe, in a statement. “These developments underscore Qualcomm Technologies’ continued leadership in driving 5G mmWave commercialization and advancing 5G as we move through the next decade.”

Qualcomm said this demonstration is important because it’s another breakthrough for Snapdragon X65, which showed how it can support record-breaking cellular speeds of more than 10 Gbps at MWC Barcelona 2021. The X65 5G Modem-RF system, announced in May, supports standalone (SA) mode services over mmWave.

Commercial mobile devices based on X65 Modem-RF solutions are expected to launch by late 2021.

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The limitations in mmWave’s propagation characteristics are well-known, since it uses higher frequency spectrum where signals don’t travel as far or penetrate structures very well. On the other hand, unencumbered mmWave spectrum can be used to provide super-fast speeds not seen in lower-band spectrum.

Qualcomm points out that more than 40 global mobile industry leaders have committed to support 5G mmWave, including China Unicom and major Chinese OEMs.

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Qualcomm apparently has high expectations for its role in mmWave rollouts and China. At Mobile World Congress Shanghai earlier this year, the company collaborated with China Unicom, ZTE and the GSMA, working with dozens of Chinese companies to showcase the performance and applications of a 5G mmWave network. According to Qualcomm, the level of collaboration underscores the significant attention to mmWave in China and the opportunity ahead beginning in 2022.