Qualcomm Driving to Make mmWave 5G More Affordable in 2022
Qualcomm will make a big push to bring high-speed mmWave 5G to more affordable phones in 2022, according to comments made by CEO Cristiano Amon during a Q&A session at the company's Snapdragon Summit event in Hawaii today. For a phone to support mmWave 5G, multiple specialty antenna modules need to be added, which can raise a phone's price by $50 – 100. This has kept the technology limited to higher-end phones thus far. Qualcomm has therefore not bothered to include mmWave support in its lower-end 5G chipsets to date. In the US, only Verizon has put mmWave in its affordable 5G phones, but this has often come at a price premium compared to similar phones with other carriers. Such phones have often had to use a pricier Qualcomm chipset in order support mmWave, such as the Orbic Myra, which used a Snapdragon 7-series chip for its mmWave support, while the same phone for TracFone uses a cheaper 6-series chip that does not support mmWave. Qualcomm will bring mmWave support to "all tiers" of its Snapdragon chips in 2022, as well as work on ways to implement mmWave using fewer and/or cheaper antennas, without compromising performance. "That's our mission, and you're going to start to see that happen next year", said Amon. mmWave offers dramatically faster data speeds than other flavors of 5G, but the high radio frequencies offer limited range. That makes it suitable for arenas, convention centers, airports, and transit hubs, but not coverage over larger areas.
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DISCLOSURE: Qualcomm paid for the author's travel and accommodation for the Snapdragon Summit event where this product was announced.
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