Qualcomm to start shipping its 5G modems

5G phones could be a major step closer after Qualcomm confirmed it has started sending out 5G-ready modems to its partners.

The chipmaker has revealed that its next flagship Snapdragon release, expected to be launched later this year, will carry its X50 modem, which is able to support 5G networks.

However Qualcomm says that it isn't expecting 5G-ready smartphones to be launched this year, with new releases instead set to appear in 2019.

5G phones launch date

At a media briefing attended by TechRadar Pro, Ben Timmons, senior director of marketing and business development for Qualcomm in Europe, said that although 5G devices will launch before the end of this year, the company doesn't expect 5G smartphones until early 2019.

"Much of our work now is dominated by preparation for 5G," he said, "there's a tremendous amount of momentum for 5G."

Qualcomm has been working on several new releases away from its smartphone heritage recently, with a host of new wearable platform launches. The company has also partnered with Microsoft to power a new series of "Always Connected PC" devices supported by a Snapdragon SoC.

New Snapdragon platform

Qualcomm says that the launch of the as-yet-unnamed new Snapdragon platform will allow manufacturers to build "the next era of mobile devices" that are more powerful than ever.

The new Snapdragon SoC is built on the 7nm process node, meaning vendors can create slimmer and lighter designs too, as well as ensuring top-end connectivity in preparation for 5G.

“We are very pleased to be working with OEMs, operators, infrastructure vendors, and standards bodies across the world, and are on track to help launch the first 5G mobile hotspots by the end of 2018, and smartphones using our next-generation mobile platform in the first half of 2019,” said Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated. 

“Qualcomm Technologies’ continued leadership in research and engineering allows for a future of increased innovation across multiple sectors as 5G connectivity becomes ubiquitous.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.