Today, Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon X24 4G LTE modem, the first to support speeds of up to 2Gbps. It's a significant improvement over last year's Snapdragon X20, which supported up to 1.2Gbps.
"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, designed 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," said Serge Willenegger, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT, Qualcomm Wireless GmbH. "Further expanding on the use of 4x4 and LAA capability, the Snapdragon X24 packs a powerful array of the most advanced 4G LTE technologies commercially available, helping mobile operators to fully mobilize their spectrum assets and maximize the capacity of their Gigabit LTE networks, and mobile device makers to offer consumers a tangible glimpse of our 5G future."
The new Category 20 LTE modem features 7x20MHz carrier aggregation, and up to 4x4 MIMO on five carriers and a maximum of 20 spatial streams. As far as upload speeds go, that will be quite a bit slower with a maximum of 316Mbps, and 3x20MHz carrier aggregation.
Qualcomm says that OEMs will be able offer mobile experiences like 360-degree video, cloud computing, rich entertainment, and instant apps. While this may be true, most carriers still don't support this. In fact, in many regions, you'd be lucky to get download speeds of 50Mbps, and carriers are still working to roll out gigabit speeds.
It's safe to assume that you won't actually see this modem in a device until 2019. Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon X20 modem at this time last year, and that made its debut in the Snapdragon 845 chipset, which we are expecting to see in handsets over the next few months. It's likely that we'll see the X24 in the company's next-generation flagship chipset.
The firm says that you'll be able to catch demos of the product if you're at Mobile World Congress, with products from Ericsson, Netgear, and Telstra.