Report: Samsung to Unveil a Prototype 5G Modem for Smartphones in the Second Half of 2018
The first 5G spec was finalized last month, and some networks are slated to go live in 2019 ahead of a rollout in 2020. Companies are jockeying for positions in the race to adoption, and incumbents Qualcomm and Intel have already announced their commercial 5G solutions — Qualcomm’s X50 modem and Intel’s XMM 8060 modem will be available in 2019. Now, a report by Business Korea suggests that Samsung is about to join the 5G modem space.
Samsung will unveil a 5G modem prototype — the Exynos 5G — for smartphones this year, according to Business Korea. The publication, quoting unnamed industry sources, states that Samsung Electronics’s System LSI Business Department showed off the chip in a private exhibition room at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show last week.
The Exynos 5G is expected to ship in 5G smartphones in 2019, according to the report, when 5G services will be “tentatively provided” in “some areas”. Samsung will reportedly tap into the 5G smartphone market in the second half of 2021 or 2022 by actively participating in Release 16 of the 5G standard.
The prototype will reportedly ship to Samsung’s Wireless Business Division in the second half of 2018. The company’s said to be planning 5G network tests with carriers, with the aim of entering the 5G market alongside Qualcomm and others in 2019.
The Exynos 5G modem satisfies Release 15, an early 5G standard set by the 3GPP that’s expected to be completed in June, the Business Korea report adds. It also supports frequency bands below 6GHz and high-frequency millimeter wave bands at 28GHz and 39GHz.
But the Exynos 5G is backward-compatible with older standards, too. It’s designed to work with previous telecom technologies such as 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE., and can reportedly use up to 800MHz by bundling eight 100MHz bands by employing carrier aggregation (CA) in high-frequency bands over 28GHz. And the modem supports both 5G non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) simultaneously, the latter of which is being used to transition existing wireless core networks from LTE to 5G.
Theoretically, the Exynos 5G can achieve a maximum download speed of up to 5Gbps, or five times the 1-1.2Gbps download speeds of current best-in-class modem chips.
That all sounds impressive, but in a modem market that’s dominated by Qualcomm, Samsung faces an uphill battle. According to the report, Samsung plans to “significantly reduce” its reliance on US telecom modem chips for 5G smartphones in an attempt to gain a foothold. We’ll have to see how it shakes out in the coming months.
Source: Business Korea