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

Qualcomm 4G/5G summit
A poster at the 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong.

HONG KONG — Qualcomm Technologies chose its annual 4G/5G Summit to announce that it has been working closely with Telstra, Ericsson and Netgear on what it described as the world’s first Gigabit class LTE mobile device and the first Gigabit class LTE commercially ready network.

All of which means Netgear is supplying the Mobile Router M41100, which is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, along with Qualcomm Wi-Fi solutions, described as the first consumer end device capable of reaching Gigabit class LTE download speeds up to 1 Gbps. For its part, Australia’s Telstra is developing a new Gigabit class LTE network, and Ericsson is providing software and infrastructure.

“It’s a major milestone for the industry because it’s really the first commercialization of Gigabit LTE class as a system, and now with the commercial network and a commercial device, we’ve successfully completed a Gigabit connection between those elements of the system,” said Peter Carson, product marketing senior director at Qualcomm Technologies.

Qualcomm Technologies showed a live demo of the Gigabit Class LTE device and network here at the 4G/5G Summit. Gigabit Class LTE download speeds are achieved through a combination of 3x carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO on two aggregated carriers plus 2x2 MIMO on the third carrier, and 256-QAM higher order modulation.

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Qualcomm also announced it is putting the X16 LTE modem with Gigabit connectivity into the next premium tier Snapdragon SOC in the 800 series, signaling to the world that this capability will be in mainstream devices in 2017, initially on licensed spectrum. In the second half of the year, it will also be available for unlicensed spectrum as a supplement in the form of LAA or LTE-U, broadening the applicability of Gigabit speeds to the vast majority of operators around the world once you include LAA as a key component, Carson said.

There’s a long list of operators that plan to deploy Gigabit LTE features, and depending on their spectrum holdings, the data rates for this class of services range from 700 megabits to 1 Gigabit – and “that’s totally spectrum-dependent,” Carson added.

LAA allows about two-thirds of all operators to get to Gigabit speeds, once it’s available, so that’s a key ingredient, he said.

“Achieving the world’s first Gigabit Class LTE download speeds between a mobile device and commercial ready network is another industry achievement towards the availability of Gigabit LTE services,” said Serge Willenegger, SVP at Qualcomm Technologies, in a press release. “Qualcomm Technologies has long been a leader in LTE, pioneering many of the building blocks for 3G and 4G and now paving the way to 5G. We’re excited to celebrate this milestone with our partners and to demonstrate our leadership in the commercialization of key technologies that will be foundational elements of future 5G deployments.”