Intel speeds up 5G modem plans - and the 2020 iPhone could benefit

Intel unveils XMM 8160 5G modem for a 2H 2019 arrival

As The Verge notes, however, most Android phone makers are already confirmed as using Qualcomm's own 5G chip, meaning Apple will be the biggest customer Intel has.

According to the press release, Intels first 5G modem, the XMM 8160, will be ready sooner than had originally been expected, with manufacturing having moved up by more than six months.

Apple has been rumoured to launch a 5G-enabled iPhone in 2020 and the modem will be provided by none other than Intel. The processor manufacturer today announced a brand new 5G modem called the XMM 8160 that will arrive in 2020 and with it, you can expect a new threshold of wireless speeds to be achieved. The chip-maker has been in a race with Qualcomm to get a foot in the game with 5G, given the first networks supporting the next-generation standard are due to begin going live by the end of 2018. It will support the new standard for 5G New Radio (NR), including standalone and non-standalone modes, as well as 4G, 3G and 2G legacy radios in a single chipset.

Intel (intc) executives didn't address possible problems with the company's initial modem while talking up the merits of the follow-on edition. It will come with EN-DC too, which will allow this modem to support 4G and 5G networks simultaneously. Consumer devices that contain the modem won't be available until 2020, however. Apart from this, Intel has said that the new modems will support all the bands from 600MHz to 6GHz.

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The XMM 8160 also supports new millimeter wave bands as well as sub 6 GHz 5G NR support, including FDD and TDD bands from 600 MHz to 6 GHz.

It will also have backwards compatibility with 4G networks to ensure that the modem still works in areas not covered by 5G, which we suspect will be quite a few in number as the rollout of 5G isn't likely to deliver blanket coverage in the United Kingdom that quickly. "We are seeing great demand for the feature set of the XMM 8160, such that we made a strategic decision to pull in the launch of this modem by half a year", Cormac Conroy, head of Intel's communications and devices group, said in a statement.

On the other hand, a host of mobile phone brands such as Nokia, Sony, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and LG have aligned with Qualcomm and are likely to launch their first 5G smartphones in late 2019 itself, powered by Qualcomm's X50 5G modems.

What Is 5G and How Useful Is It to You?

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