The silicon designer says that this is the first 5G connection made on its "single chip" X50 connection. Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s Sherif Hanna, staff manager of product marketing for 4G and 5G, says this is significant because the X50 is not a bulky prototype device but silicon close to its prime-time moment. (See Oh Snap! Qualcomm Unveils X50, Its First 5G Modem.)
Hanna says Qualcomm now expects to see initial 5G smartphones arrive in "the first half of 2019." This will happen concurrently with the arrival of the first mobile 5G networks, Qualcomm suggests. (See Qualcomm: First 5G Smartphones Coming Mid-2019.)
The call topped gigabit download speeds, using several 100MHz-wide radio channels on 28GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum. Qualcomm has said that the production chip will support download peak speeds of up to 5 Gbit/s.
See Qualcomm's take below:
With 28GHz-based millimeter wave being such a new technology to use for smartphone-orientated mobile networks -- cellular networks today use anything between 800MHz and 2.5GHz, spectrum-wise -- Qualcomm is expecting 2018 to be a year of testing and experimentation for smartphone makers. To that end, Qualcomm has also released its first 5G smartphone reference design.
Nonetheless, Hanna said that the first 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (NR) specifications will be ready in December this year. (See Making 5G New Radio (NR) a Reality and 5G Volume Knob Cranked to 11.)
Hanna said that while Qualcomm has plans to deliver silicon aimed at fixed and mobile 5G applications, it is focused on smartphones with "mobility" as the "challenging" application that lets 5G "scale." Hanna suggested that 5G smartphones will be the offerings that bring in "millions" of users. (See Analysts Predict $1B Revenue From Fixed 5G in 2019.)
"Many others view mmWave as not viable for mobile, and [as] only good for fixed wireless -- we disagree," Hanna said.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading