The new modem Qualcomm X55 is ready: what is the impact on 5G network

Nearly all 5G products are currently powered by a Qualcomm modem, and while the older X50 modem is very powerful and capable of very impressive speeds, it was very much a first-generation project. The X55 has gone a long way to improve in the areas where this product was weak.

There are a number of ways the X55 modem, which will ship first on the AT&T and T-Mobile variants of the Galaxy Note 5G, improves over the X50. With support for 5G Standalone mode, the X55 can operate alone without the help of an older LTE network. It also has better support for sub-6 5G deployments, such as the Sprint and T-Mobile that are hoping to combine 2.5Ghz (in TDD) and 600Mhz band (in FDD)

Support of StandAlone Mode (5G SA)

The X55 modem offers what's known as 5G standalone mode knowing that the X50 operated only in non-standalone mode (often abbreviated as 5G NSA). 

Qualcomm  X55 is the first modem that can send and receive over 5G, LTE, and legacy channels (meaning 3G and 2G) with a single chip. This means companies that make phones and other 5G devices won't have to implement two separate radios for cellular which means lower costs and less battery drain. The X55 delivers even better LTE performance with 7x20MHz carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO support.

Better Sub-6GHz support

The X55 supports 5G NR  sub-6GHz in FDD mode while the X50 only supported TDD  frequencies. FDD requires two separate communication channels but can transmit and receive information at the same time, where TDD uses a single channel but has to swap between sending and receiving.

The biggest benefit of using FDD mode is that it's the only way to use frequency lower than 800MHz. These low-frequency bands offer better range and penetration and are already widely used for LTE. T-Mobile will be deploying 5G on 600Mhz on FDD which is only supported by X55.

Better support of Mmwave

The X55 is Qualcomm's first true global 5G modem. The industry uses three frequency bands for mmWave communications — 26GHz, 28GHz, and 39GHz — and all three are supported. The X50 only supported 28GHz and 39GHz which made it unusable for more than half the world.

This is because of how different countries are implementing 5G mmWave. In North America and parts of Europe, 28GHz and 39GHz are the bands in use and being tested for future usage. But in places like Africa and parts of Asia, 26GHz spectrum will be used and it needs to be supported. Having support for all three frequencies on one modem means it can be used everywhere there is a 5G mmWave network and OEMs can make a single global 5G phone if they want to.

Should I upgrade?

The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G for T-Mobile is expected to have the new Qualcomm X55 modem inside. If you were waiting for 5G tech to mature before hopping on board, this is the mark you were waiting for. With everything integrated on one chip, you save power and get more out of your phone. When you reduce the number of components in a phone, you also reduce points of failure and increase the internal real estate available to other components like batteries and image processors.

If you have already bought into 5G, there's probably not enough reason to upgrade just yet. As the networks mature and rely less on 3G and 4G for backups, the newer chips will make more sense. Until then, your S10 5G or V50 Thinq 5G should still deliver excellent speed and quality of service.

 

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5G in Korea focused on VR and AR use cases

 

Pub 5G SK Telecom related to AR:

  

 

Pub 5G LG U+ related to VR:

 

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5G news and 5G training

New 5G spectrums in WRC-19 

What'is WRC 

World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRCs) are held every 4 years in order to review and revise the Radio Regulations (RR) RR international treaty governing spectrum use (& satellite orbit). The decisions are being taken following a study period of 3 years. The next WRC-19 to be held from October 28th to November 22nd 2019 in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt.

The conference is governed by specific set of rules and etiquette:

− The meeting is being conducted in strict accordance to an agenda agreed during the previous conference.

− Only the administration representatives are involved in the decision making process and are allowed to take the floor during the debates.

− “One country-one vote” principle. However, voting is rarely used to the preferred method-consensus by unanimity.

Additional spectrum for 5G

Under the Agenda Item 1.13, the Conference will work on identification of IMT spectrum within the below ranges.

• Incumbent services in these bands include satellite, aeronautical radio navigation, fix services, Earth exploration, radio astronomy and automotive radar.

• In addition of identifying the bands, the conference will define a set of protection measures for the incumbent services operating in the band and in the adjacent bands.

• Overprotecting these services could result in a drastically reduction of the amount of spectrum allocated to the mobile industry; this in terms will lead to artificial scarcity and elevated licence prices.

 

Road for WRC-23: One of the task of WRC-19 will be to finalise the Agenda for WRC-23.

The preliminary agenda for WRC-23 was agreed by WRC-15 & will be completed by WRC-19 , which offers possibility to consider additional spectrum for future IMT deployments

• Identification of additional spectrum for MBB in the 470-694MHz band. – Additional sub 1GHz spectrum could solve any capacity constraints after 2025.

• Identification of the 3.8-4.2GHz. – This band is adjacent to the European 5G core band and could act as a capacity extension.

• Study new bands above 6GHz – Currently there is no allocation between 6 and 24GHz. This spectrum could be used for FWA applications more economically than in the higher bands.

 

 

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Fifth mobile network operator in Italy: Fastweb  

Fastweb announced that it has effectively become Italy’s fifth mobile network operator alongside TIM, Vodafone, Wind Tre and Iliad after receiving the corresponding official authorisation from the country’s Ministry of Economic Development (MISE). The high-speed broadband provider set off on the path to convert from an MVNO to an MNO around three years ago when it agreed to use spectrum owned by Sardinia-based Tiscali in urban areas, subsequently reaching a deal to acquire 40 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band from Tiscali as well as a 200 MHz block in the 26 GHz band in the national 5G spectrum tender held in October 2018. The company has also recently announced a 10-year co-investment agreement with Wind Tre to team up on the rollout of a nationwide 5G network.

Fastweb already has over 1.5 million mobile customers, with nearly a third of its client base subscribing to a convergent offering combining fixed and mobile services. "MISE’s authorisation represents the last piece of our convergent strategy,” said Fastweb CEO Alberto Calcagno in a statement, adding that “having always been a fixed network operator with a latest-generation fibre-optic network, we are now also a mobile operator, relying on all of our infrastructure assets to play a leading role ahead of the arrival of 5G.”

 

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5G Auctions around the World

 

USA 5G Auction

-The FCC auction of residual 28GHz(27.5 28.35GHz) frequencies began in November2018.The auction closed in January 2019. Bids reached 704 millionUSD.

-Auction of the 24GHz frequencies is on going. Bidding was expected to conclude on 28May,2019. As that date came closer, the auction amount was approaching 2billionUSD (on21May,2019) after 62 rounds.

South Korea 5G Auction

-3.5 GHz and 28 GHz auction was completed in June2018-Total bids reached 3.6 trillion KRW (2.8 billion EUR) of which 82% was for 3.5GHz spectrum. Spectrum authorisations were issued between September and December 2018)

Italy 5G Auction

-Spectrum in the 700MHz (694MHz-790MHz), 3.6GHz-3.8GHz and 26.5GHz-27.5GHz bands was auctioned in September and October2018. The whole auction ended after 14 days of intense bidding, far above expectations.

-Total bids reached 6.55 billion EUR, of which 4 billion EUR for the highly-coveted mid-frequencies. The 26.5GHz-27.5 GHz spectrum was split into five lots of 200MHz.

-Licences will be valid until 2037 , thought he 700MHz frequencies will not be opened up until mid-2022.

China 5G Auction

-5G deployment in China is strongly backed by the Government. 5G rank s among the strategic priority for the whole country for the 13th5-Year Plan for 2015-2020.

 

Japan 5G Auction

-Around 300 million USD have been allocated by the Japanese authorities to promote the Industrial IoT and related technologies such as 5G, bigdata, artificial intelligence and robotics.

-Japanese operators are targeting the rollout 5G in time for hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games in August 2020. Japan mainly supports the 28GHz (27.5-29.5GHz) band for 5G. The MIC has also approved the 3.6-4.2GHz and the 4.4-4.9GHz frequencies.

UK 5G Auction

-Auction of 2.3 and 3.4GHz spectrum (3UK:151million GBP for 20MHz of 3.4 GHz spectrum; EE:303 million GBP for 40MHz of 3.4GHz; O2: 378million GBP for 40MHz of2.3GHz spectrum and 40MHz of 3.4GHz spectrum; Vodafone:378million GBP for 50MHz of 3.4GHz)

-However most industry observers did not want a repeat of the infamous 3G auction in 2000 which generated 36 billion Euros for the treasury and restricted the ability of operators to invest in infrastructure.

 

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About Us

The objective of this website is to share knowledge and keep track of different topics related to mobile and wireless technology. I am 5G researcher and trainer based in Morocco and middle east I have worked on 5G Radio Access Systems Research and Standardization Group on several topics with various vendors and operators such as Nokia, Huawei, Ericsson, Orange, in research, product management and development roles all over the world.

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