Earlier today, Qualcomm announced its next-generation 5G modem - the Snapdragon X60 which is based on the 5nm manufacturing process. It offers OEMs a single solution that supports mmWave-sub6 aggregation and offers a maximum theoretical download speed of 5.5Gbps. A Reuters report now claims that Samsung will be fabricating the Snapdragon X60 modem for Qualcomm.
Samsung won't be solely fabricating the 5nm X60 modem for Qualcomm though. TSMC is also expected to fabricate the modem in its 5nm foundries. At the moment, it is unclear what the order split is between the two foundries. Qualcomm itself did not confirm which company will be manufacturing the Snapdragon X60 for it.
Qualcomm has previously relied on Samsung's foundries for fabricating its chips including the Snapdragon 845. However, Samsung's foundry biggest customer has been the company's LSI division and its memory chips division. The Korean conglomerate is looking to change that and last year announced an investment of over $116 billion through 2030 towards non-memory chip development and fabrication.
Since the Snapdragon X60 is based on the 5nm fabrication process, it will be more power-efficient and smaller than Qualcomm's existing Snapdragon X55 modem. Qualcomm expects to start shipping sample units of the X60 modem to OEMs in Q1 of this year. However, the 5G modem will only start showing up inside smartphones due to launch in 2021. Since the Snapdragon X60 will be found inside the majority of premium 5G smartphones next year, this is definitely a major win for Samsung's foundry business.