Samsung has introduced its first integrated 5G processor, the Exynos 980, with on-board support for sub-6GHz 5G.
The Samsung release, which will start to be built before the end of the year, comes as other global manufacturers start to deliver more 5G chips, too. For instance, Huawei is expected to launch its latest Kirin 990 chip this month.
The Samsung chip is built on an 8-nanometer (nm) technology, which delivers up to 2.55 Gbit/s downloads over 5G or a gigabit connection over 4G. The Exynos is the first integrated processor with 5G built-in. MediaTek and Qualcomm are expected to release their own integrated 5G processors in the first half of 2020.
The processor also supports E-UTRA-NR Dual Connectivity (EN-DC). This is presently supported in the US by Sprint to allow connection to both 5G and LTE on the same frequency.
The point for Samsung there is to combine the dual connection to increase download speeds on sub-6GHz 5G. The company claims a download speed up to 3.55 Gbit/s with EN-DC enabled.
Why this matters Samsung is the second largest semiconductor manufacturer after Intel as of Q2 2019, according to IHS Markit. Samsung's ambition with 5G is to move away from its reliance on memory chip manufacturing.
Samsung tends to stick with Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors and modems for its US versions and uses its own silicon elsewhere. The Exynos 980 doesn't support the millimeter wave bands currently used for 5G in the US by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading