Why it Matters
There are a number of devices out in the market that can handle 5G data speeds. The drawback to all these devices is that none of them are able to utilize the low band FDD spectrum that all the networks intend to use to deliver nationwide coverage of 5G. Most of the 5G phones out there can only work with a high band millimeter-wave spectrum. This works fine but these waves cannot travel far distances and so it would be impossible to roll out a nationwide 5G coverage using these alone. This means that the only people who would be able to use 5G are those who are in the cities where these waves would be concentrated.
Low Band 600 MHz
T-Mobile came up with a pretty good solution which is to use low band 600 MHz waves for delivery of 5G in areas outside cities. This is the spectrum that was successfully tested using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 modem. In addition, the test utilized commercial 5G radios from Ericsson. The new X55 modem can handle a variety of spectrums which allows devices to use both mmWave and low band 600 MHz Such devices can thus ‘adapt’ to the waves that are around it. For example, while in cities, they can use the mmWave spectrum while outside cities, they can use the long-range 600 MHz waves. They are also adaptive enough to use 4G and older modes if need be.
When Will They Be Available?
For consumers waiting to get their hands on these modern 5G devices, they might have to wait for a few months. It is expected that the first devices will be out in the last quarter of 2019.
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