Qualcomm Confirms Adding 600MHz Support to the X16 Modem

Qualcomm Confirms Adding 600MHz Support to the X16 Modem

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T-Mobile spent upwards of $8 billion to purchase 45% of the available 600MHz spectrum earlier this month during an auction for the available spectrum. The company has since been tight-lipped over how it would be utilizing these new airwaves to enhance its network. But recently, the company has hinted in its recent earnings call that its first 600MHz-based networks would be rolled out in some areas later this year.

The 600MHz airwaves are opening up due to old TV channels going under, which will likely take 3 years to complete. That means T-Mobile won’t be able to use these new radios in urban areas anytime soon. However in rural areas, especially in the mid-West, the airwaves seem to be largely free and there is an opportunity for T-Mobile to get a leg up on its competition by utilizing these new airwaves.

It should be noted that 600MHz won’t be compatible with any of the existing devices since it requires a different physical antenna. In simple words, the modem on your device must have support at the hardware level in order to access 600MHz waves – which none of the devices available in the market currently has.

However, it appears that T-Mobile has already started working with hardware partners to add support for 600MHz. Yesterday, a Qualcomm spokesman took to Reddit to disclose that the company will add 600MHz support in the X16 modem (found in the Snapdragon 835). However, he declined to comment which OEMs and devices would be the first to hit the market with the new modem.

As this is a hardware change, this means that current revisions of the Snapdragon 835 SoC, such as those found in the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, will not have 600MHz support. But any new flagship devices coming later this year with a Snapdragon 835 SoC should be ready to work on 600 MHz networks out of the box.

Source: Reddit Via: PCMag