Qualcomm is doubling down on LTE before moving onto 5G

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Serge Willenegger, SVP and General Manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT, Qualcomm Wireless GmbH, said: "As the world's first announced Gigabit LTE modem to achieve speeds of up to 2GBps, the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem sets a major mobile industry milestone, created to provide enhanced mobile broadband and deliver an extremely important gigabit coverage layer for commercial 5G networks and mobile devices that are expected to start launching in 2019".

It also serves as a reminder that increased speeds are the least exciting part of 5G.

Now, you won't likely ever see that 2Gbps number in reality. With this, Qualcomm also revealed a list of 18 OEMs who will be using the x50 modem and 5G technology in their upcoming hardware.

Another leg of the strategy is to create more integrated RF silicon, because otherwise smartphones will run into power consumption and size challenges.

Qualcomm's X24 modem can reach speeds of 2 Gbps or about half the maximum speed of its current 5G modem.

If you're thinking how the Snapdragon X24 will be of use in emerging markets such as India and China, Qualcomm has provided multi-SIM support with LTE dual-SIM, dual-standby (DSDS)+LAA feature as well as dual-SIM, dual-VoLTE (DSDV) functionality.

So, how does this new, bonkers-fast LTE modem fit in with Qualcomm's strategy to launch its X50 5G modem next year? It's a logical move for Qualcomm, considering that in the early days of 5G networks, coverage will be somewhat limited - especially for mmWave networks, which will likely only exist in highly trafficked areas at first.

Qualcomm says the new X24 LTE modem can reach theoretical speeds of 2Gbps, wherever supported by carries, which is a significant improvement over theoretical speeds of 1.2Gbps achieved by X20 LTE modem.

Qualcomm's mobile modems still lead the pack but the huge chipmaker is facing ever-increasing competition from other players such as Intel; both make modems for the iPhone X and Qualcomm lodged a legal complaint about Apple infringing its patents - the latest in a series of legal disputes between the two companies.

The Snapdragon X24 LTE modem delivers 2x the speed of the company's first generation Gigabit LTE modem.

It said equipment manufacturers will benefit from using the chip by offering 360-degree video, cloud computing, entertainment and "instant apps" on their devices. However, Qualcomm isn't done with 4G LTE technology just yet, which is why it today is introducing the Snapdragon X24. "At the same time, operators can gain flexibility in using their spectrum assets to offer blazing fast speeds to consumers, while also improving their network capacity and maximising spectral efficiency", said Qualcomm in its blog post. There is also full-dimension Multi-Input Multi-Output (FD-MIMO) to give way to carriers to start sending their 5G signals.

In the uplink, the X24 supports Category 20 upload speeds, 3x20MHz CA and up to 256 QAM encoding.