Qualcomm starts sampling Snapdragon X20 LTE chipset

Serge Willenegger
Qualcomm SVP Serge Willenegger says the company expects the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem will help accelerate the worldwide adoption of Gigabit LTE.

As operators march to Gigabit offerings, Qualcomm Technologies said it has started sampling its second-generation Gigabit LTE solution, the Snapdragon X20 LTE chipset.

Qualcomm said it’s the first commercially announced Gigabit LTE chipset designed to deliver fiber-like LTE Category 18 download speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps, a 20% improvement in download speeds over the previous generation.

In addition, it allows support for up to 5x20 MHz downlink Carrier Aggregation across licensed and unlicensed FDD and TDD radio frequencies, as well as 4x4 MIMO on top of three aggregated LTE carriers. It also supports Dual SIM Dual VoLTE (DSDV) capability, a first for Snapdragon LTE modems.

RELATED: In move to 5G, Telstra boasts Gigabit LTE speeds

In the U.S., T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray has promised that T-Mobile will be first to deliver Gigabit speeds, but Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have also talked about offering wireless Gigabit speeds in some form or another in 2017.

“The Snapdragon X20 LTE modem is the latest example of Qualcomm extending our connectivity leadership and puts us at the forefront in driving global deployment of Gigabit LTE worldwide, laying an essential foundation for the successful launch of 5G mobile services worldwide,” said Serge Willenegger, senior vice president of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, in a prepared statement. “We anticipate that the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem will help accelerate the worldwide adoption of Gigabit LTE, allowing users to enjoy even faster data speeds, further improving consumers’ always on mobile lifestyle.”

RELATED: Telstra, Ericsson, Netgear team with Qualcomm on Gigabit class LTE device, gear

Australia’s Telstra recently launched the world’s first commercial Gigabit LTE network and device with partners Qualcomm, Ericsson and Netgear. The operator is touting the world’s fastest mobile hotspot, selling the Nighthawk M1 mobile router as it rolls out the service in select capital cities across Australia. It uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, as well as technology from Ericsson.

It’s worth noting that the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem is an LTE Advanced Pro modem that supports Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), the global standard for LTE in unlicensed spectrum.

Support for both 5xCA and LAA allows operators to launch Gigabit LTE service with as little as 10 MHz of licensed spectrum, which expands the number of operators that can offer Gigabit LTE service around the globe. Additionally, the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem supports the 3.5 GHz shared spectrum in the U.S., or Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band, which can be used to provide new services like private LTE-based networks.

The Snapdragon X20 LTE modem has started sampling to customers and the first commercial devices are expected in the first half of 2018.

Qualcomm also announced the company’s first successful 5G connection based on the New Radio (NR) work in 3GPP, which is expected to become the global 5G standard. The connection was completed using Qualcomm’s sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype system capable of operating at mid-band spectrum from 3.3 GHz to 5.0 GHz. Qualcomm’s sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype consists of both base stations and user equipment (UE) and serves as a testbed for verifying 5G NR capabilities in bands below 6 GHz.

The prototype system will be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona next week at both Qualcomm’s both and the China Mobile Communications’ stand.

Separately, Qualcomm announced an end-to-end 802.11ax portfolio, which includes the IPQ8074 system-on-chip (SoC) for network infrastructure and QCA6290 solution for client devices, making it the first company to announce end-to-end commercial solutions to support 802.11ax.