Feb 18, 2020
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
The year 2019 will be remembered as the year 5G launched in much of the world. As of early 2020, over 45 operators have launched 5G services and more than 40 OEMs are introducing devices.
At Qualcomm Technologies, we’re proud to be fueling the mobile ecosystem’s 5G momentum and global adoption with our 5G platform roadmap. The world’s first 5G solution Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 Modem-RF System helped global networks launch 5G services using mmWave and sub-6 GHz spectrum. Our second-generation solution, Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System helped accelerate 5G rollout and expansion with added support for key features such as 5G standalone (SA) mode, 5G FDD, and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing.
Now we’re taking it up a notch with our third-generation solution – the Snapdragon X60 Modem-RF System – designed to lift the performance floor for global 5G networks, helping more users around the world get faster 5G, sooner.
The transition from 4G to full-fledged 5G is not a singular event, but rather a phased deployment process that will unfold globally over a period of time. With 5G off to a flying start in 2019 in many regions, we expect global operators to ramp 5G deployments during 2020-2021 as well as expand coverage, continue increasing capacity, and adopt a roadmap for a smooth transition to 5G SA mode.
The Snapdragon X60 next-generation feature-set is designed to provide operators the ultimate flexibility to maximize the spectrum resources available to them. With smartphones based on Snapdragon X60, operators can flexibly utilize a mix of frequency bands (mmWave, sub-6 GHz including low bands), band types (5G FDD and TDD), and deployment modes (SA and NSA) to achieve an optimal combination of high-speed and low-latency network coverage.
For example, with Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), operators can deploy 5G services on low frequency FDD bands already in use for LTE. 5G FDD-TDD carrier aggregation support in Snapdragon X60 then allows the operator to increase capacity and coverage. Additionally, with mmWave-sub6 aggregation, operators can dramatically increase their peak throughput to surpass 5.5 Gbps. For a 5G SA operator with only sub-6 GHz spectrum, Snapdragon X60 can double the peak throughput compared to the previous generation.
Leading 5G performance
- The cutting-edge 5nm process node for the 5G baseband chip packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint.
- Support for 5G FDD-TDD sub-6 carrier aggregation helps networks maximize their spectrum resources for coverage and peak speeds.
- Support for 5G TDD-TDD sub-6 carrier aggregation allows SA networks to double peak speeds (compared to Snapdragon X55).
- Introduction of mmWave-sub6 aggregation unlocks a gamut of options for operators to achieve the best of both worlds – network capacity and coverage.
- The new Qualcomm QTM535 mmWave antenna module introduced with Snapdragon X60 is smaller than the previous generation and allows new, sleek mmWave smartphone designs, with improved mmWave performance.
Accelerating network transition to 5G SA mode
Nearly all 5G networks around the world are initially deploying 5G in non-standalone mode. In other words, using a LTE anchor band to support a 5G data link. These networks will then look to transition to standalone mode where the connection is an exclusively 5G NR link, without a LTE anchor. Key features supported in Snapdragon X60 such as mmWave-sub6 aggregation, sub-6 FDD-TDD aggregation, Voice-over-NR (VoNR), and DSS help operators accelerate transitioning to 5G SA mode.
Continued modem-to-antenna leadership
Building on two generations of 5G modem-to-antenna system integration leadership, the Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System extends the family of the world’s first commercial modem-to-antenna solution which includes the baseband, RF transceiver, and complete RF front-end for mmWave and sub-6 GHz.
Innovative system integration from the baseband to the antenna helps Snapdragon X60 achieve superior performance and power efficiency while helping OEMs accelerate time-to-launch.
This means fewer hurdles to delivering leading-edge 5G smartphones with multi-gigabit speeds, low latency, and global scale, to end users.
5G adoption and growth is poised to accelerate in 2020. The launch of Snapdragon X60 fuels this acceleration and expansion by allowing more networks to attain higher 5G speeds with available spectrum resources.
It’s true that anyone can talk 5G. Qualcomm Technologies is creating it, and we’re creating it now. Customer sampling for Snapdragon X60 is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2020. 5G smartphones featuring Snapdragon X60 are expected to launch in early 2021.