At its summit in Hong Kong today, chipmaker Qualcomm announced the arrival of its Snapdragon X50, the world’s first 5G modem that it claims can support download speeds of up to 5Gbps.
For comparison, the global 4G average download speed is currently about 13.5Mbps, which means the X50 will be capable of nearly 400 times that.
“This event was off the charts”
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It’s worth bearing in mind that the key word here is ‘capable’ – there aren’t yet any commercial cellular networks that support 5G standards (which still aren’t set in stone) and it isn’t likely that you’ll be able to enjoy 5Gbps download speeds when these services first become available.
Still, that’s a remarkable achievement, especially given how early in the 5G game we still are: South Korea is gearing up to launch its first 5G network in 2018; the US and UK are hoping to roll out next-gen mobile networks around 2020.
Qualcomm noted that it will begin sending out sample chips to manufacturers around the second half of 2017, and you can expect to see smartphones shipping with them starting in 2018.