Skip to main content

Qualcomm and ZTE hit new mark for millimeter-wave 5G speeds

Qualcomm has achieved a new milestone for 5G downlink speeds in conjunction with the Shenzhen, China-based technology company ZTE. The test was conducted in China and utilized Qualcomm’s 5G millimeter-wave (mmWave) technology to achieve a peak downlink speed of over 2.43GB per second with a single device, according to an official release from Qualcomm. Standard 4G speeds, by comparison, commonly reach 100MB per second under typical real-world conditions.

The Qualcomm/ZTE tests also managed to reach a peak download speed of over 5GB per second on a single device by using carrier aggregation, with a total of six 200MHz carriers on the mmWave band and uplink.

For the next step of 5G, we should fully leverage the advantages of 5G mmWave technology to unlock higher benefits and empower a digital, intelligent society.

The tests used a special device that came equipped with the latest version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon modem and network infrastructure built by ZTE.

“This latest milestone with ZTE underscores important progress toward 5G mmWave commercialization in China to unleash the full potential of 5G and drive mmWave adoption globally,” said Yan Chenwei, senior vice president of product management at Qualcomm, in a press release. “For the next step of 5G, we should fully leverage the advantages of 5G mmWave technology to unlock higher benefits and empower a digital, intelligent society.”

Millimeter waves are extremely high radio frequencies found on the electromagnetic spectrum between 30GHz and 300GHz. Due to high atmospheric absorption, millimeter-wave broadcasts were previously restricted to short-range broadcasts, such as airport security scanners, military radar (science fiction fans may recognize the term from the extraordinarily sensitive personal radar systems in Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash), or automated missile defense systems.

Qualcomm first publicly got out in front of 5G mmWave in 2019, in hopes that it could use these previously untapped frequencies to fuel the corresponding increase in wireless speeds. (Some analysts have noted that due to the increased emphasis on mobile devices in the last couple of decades, 5G had to go somewhere new on the EM spectrum, as the rest of it was rapidly filling up. Millimeter-wave was essentially free real estate.)

The joint test with ZTE is the end result of what Qualcomm claims is over 10 years of engineering to attempt to solve what had previously been seen as an insoluble problem. That, in turn, opens up new resources for 5G networks in advance of their impending rollouts.

Qualcomm, headquartered in San Diego, has been in operation since 1985. Primarily known for its chip manufacturing — if you’re American and have ever owned a smartphone, it probably contained parts from Qualcomm, at least until very recently — it’s recently diversified its business into other areas such as the automotive industry and IoT. Its successful mmWave test marks its latest in a long series of R&D investments into the technology.

Editors' Recommendations

Thomas Hindmarch
Thomas Hindmarch is a freelance writer with 20 years' experience in the gaming and technology fields. He has previously…
Have T-Mobile? Your 5G service is about to get much faster
U.S. map illustrating T-Mobile's 5G Ultra Capacity network expansion.

T-Mobile’s 5G network already offers unmatched 5G speeds and coverage throughout the U.S., with 98% of the population covered by some flavor of T-Mobile’s 5G and more than 90% benefiting from its higher-speed 5G Ultra Capacity (5G UC) network.

That translates to the “Uncarrier” taking first place in 5G performance in 46 U.S. states. However, T-Mobile isn’t content to sit at 90% coverage. It’s been working steadily to increase the footprint of its 5G UC network to reach even further, and is bringing those top speeds to areas previously served only by its lower-frequency 5G Extended Range network.
A ‘Massive 5G Boost’

Read more
Your next phone could get a huge 5G upgrade, thanks to AI
Qualcomm Snapdragon X80 Modem-RF chip.

It’s that time of year again when Qualcomm ushers in its next generation of 5G modem technology. Announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC ) 2024, this year’s Snapdragon X80 5G Modem-RF system is the successor to last year’s Snapdragon X75, and it builds on the 5G Advanced foundation laid last year with more raw power and new AI features.

While the Snapdragon X75 moved the needle by adding support for the latest 5G Advanced standards, we’re still in that fourth phase of 5G technology, otherwise known as 3GPP Release 18 — and most carrier networks are still catching up. So, with no new standards to embrace, Qualcomm has focused on improving the inside of the Snapdragon X80 to take even fuller advantage of these cutting-edge 5G technologies.
The magic of AI-powered 5G

Read more
This tiny dongle will change 5G connectivity forever
TCL Linkkey IK511 5G Dongle against a blue background.

TCL is having a busy start to 2024. First, it announced a staggering number of new smartphones and two new tablets at CES, and now it’s unveiling something else at MWC 2024 — one of the world’s first 5G dongles that takes advantage of the latest power-efficient 5G standards.

TCL Mobile’s Linkkey IK511 is a pocketable new 5G adapter that’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X35 5G Modem-RF system, which debuted last year as the first 5G modem to support the new NR-Light “RedCap” standard.
5G for everyone, everything, everywhere
TCL Linkkey IK511 TCL

Read more