Qualcomm is on a mission to bring 5G to the world, and a major part of it is implementing 5G tech into the next-gen devices. The company today announced it has partnered with a whopping 19 device manufacturers, and all will be using the company’s new X50 5G-compatible modem in at least one of their 2019 devices. Other partnerships include carriers around the globe, which will also be using the X50 modem for 5G trials this year.
What all this means is as soon as next year, you could be enjoying super-fast 5G speeds on your phone — provided you’re in an area where 5G networks have started rolling out. All four major U.S. networks said they will begin rolling out 5G networks by the end of 2018, with nationwide access expected by 2020.
The X50 modem itself is capable of supporting data connections of up to a massive 5 gigabits per second. While it’s unlikely you’ll ever experience such a speed in the real world, we’re still looking at connections of at least hundreds of megabits per second — perhaps even a gigabit — which is a major improvement over speeds on a modern 4G LTE network.
So which companies are Qualcomm working with? Included in today’s announcement are the likes of HTC, LG, Sony, Oppo, and ZTE, and on a different occasion, Qualcomm and Samsung already announced a partnership that will see the two working together on the future of 5G. When it comes to carriers, the company is working with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the U.S., as well as other carriers around the world, like Australia’s Telstra and China Mobile.
There are some big names missing from the list. Apple is one example, though it’s unsurprising considering the tumultuous relationship between the two. Huawei is also not on the list of partners, which is understandable as the Chinese company has continued its focus on developing its own chips.
Qualcomm is in a good position in the race to 5G. The company has been working with most Android manufacturers for years now, and those partnerships will almost certainly continue into the next generation of chipsets and modems. We also expect Qualcomm to eventually announce a second-generation 5G modem, which will add backward compatibility for 4G networks. Devices that use the X50 modem, for example, still need another modem, like Qualcomm’s X20, to connect to 4G and 3G.
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