Qualcomm debuts 5G device antenna tech - Mobile World Live

Qualcomm debuts 5G device antenna tech

23 JUL 2018

Qualcomm took the wraps off what it said are the first fully-integrated 5G NR mmWave and sub-6GHz antenna modules, helping enable the wave of 5G smartphones and mobile devices expected in 2019.

In a statement, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon called the launch a “major milestone for the mobile industry”.

Sherif Hanna, Qualcomm’s director of 5G product marketing, told Mobile World Live the release supplements the company’s introduction of its X50 5G modem in October 2016. Where the X50 serves as a device’s brain, Hanna explained the new antenna modules will act as a device’s eyes and ears.

The QTM052 mmWave modules include four mmWave antennas with beam forming, beam steering and beam tracking technology; a radio transceiver; power amplifiers to boost signal strength; and filters to hone in on the right band.

Qualcomm is offering different module variants that support up to 800MHz of spectrum in the 26.5-29.5GHz band, as well as 27.5-28.35GHz and 37-40GHz bands.

Analyst firm ABI Research said the most striking thing about the announcement was “the speed with which Qualcomm has managed to get to grips with the intricacies and challenges associated with implementing mmWave into a very compact form factor”.

The company also unveiled new 5G sub-6GHz module variants with support for the 3.3-4.2GHz, 3.3-3.8GHz and 4.4-5.0GHz bands.

Next gen design
In February, 19 device OEMs signed on to use the X50 modem in their 5G products starting in 2019. Hanna said not all the companies on that list will initially make mmWave-capable devices (with some, depending on the target region, opting instead to make sub-6GHz 5G devices to start), but noted “a healthy portion” of them are planning to incorporate the technology.

But since most OEMs have never used mmWave before, he noted Qualcomm has been working with them more closely than ever to design next generation devices. “It literally impacts every aspect of the phone, from the thickness to the edges, to what materials you use, to placement. So you can’t design in a vacuum,” he said.

The executive also noted the mmWave module is expected to be used in both mobile and fixed wireless devices.

Both the mmWave and sub-6GHz modules are currently sampling to customers.


Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

Read more