Timed for the now-cancelled Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm Technologies announced its third-generation 5G modem-to-antenna solution, the Snapdragon X60.

According to Qualcomm, samples of the Snapdragon X60 ship this quarter, which will support the commercial release of smartphones in early 2021.

The first 5 nm 5G baseband, the Snapdragon X60 is also the first 5G modem-to-RF system supporting spectrum aggregation across all the key 5G bands and combinations, including mmWave and sub-6 GHz, whether frequency-division duplex (FDD) or time-division duplex (TDD).

The Snapdragon X60 modem-to-antenna system includes the third-generation of Qualcomm’s mmWave antenna module, the QTM535. This generation is more compact than the previous generation, supporting thinner, sleeker smartphones.

Carrier Aggregation and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing

The Snapdragon X60 contains the first 5G FDD-TDD sub-6 GHz carrier aggregation solution, in addition to supporting 5G FDD-FDD and TDD-TDD carrier aggregation, as well as dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS).

This capability allows operators a wide range of deployment options, such as repurposing LTE spectrum for 5G to deliver higher average network speeds. This 5G modem-to-antenna solution can deliver up to 7.5 Gbps download and 3 Gbps upload. The aggregation of sub-6 GHz spectrum in standalone (SA) mode enables the doubling of peak data rates in 5G SA mode, compared to solutions with no carrier aggregation support.

The Snapdragon X60 will help accelerate the transition of mobile networks to 5G SA mode, with support for 5G voice-over-NR (VoNR). VoNR capability is an important step in the mobile industry’s transition from non-standalone (NSA) to SA, as it enables mobile operators to provide voice services on 5G.

“As 5G standalone networks are introduced in 2020, our third-generation 5G modem-RF platform brings extensive spectrum aggregation capabilities and options to fuel the rapid expansion of 5G rollouts, while enhancing coverage, power efficiency and performance for mobile devices.” — Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm