Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), globally the largest manufacturer of mobile chipset, recently added another feather to its cap. The company has provided the chipset and modem for world’s first commercially available LTE-A (Long-Term Evolution Advanced) Category 6 (Cat 6) smartphone.
Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 805 processor and Gobi 9x35 modem are jointly providing the basic technology and connectivity in Samsung’s Galaxy S5 broadband LTE-A Cat 6 smartphone in Korea.
LTE-A is the more powerful version of the legacy LTE network offering increased speed and network capacity. Carrier aggregation is an important part of LTE-A technology as it allows wireless operators to create large spectrum assets by combining different frequency bands.
Notably, LTE-A also incorporates several technological advancements like Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP), Self-Optimizing Networks (SON), small cell enhancements, Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC) and advanced Multi-Input Multi-Output (:MIMO) antenna.
In Jun 2013, SK Teleocm Co. Ltd. (SKM) of South Korea became the first wireless operator in the world to commercially launch LTE-A network using carrier aggregation. In Mar 2014, AT&T Inc. (T) became the first wireless operator in the U.S. to launch LTE-A services in Chicago.
Other major wireless carriers, namely Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. are expected to follow suite in the 2014-2015 period.
The LTE-A Cat 6 smartphone will provide download speed up to 300 Mbps and enhanced battery life. The Gobi 9x35 modem supports LTE-A carrier aggregation for both LTE TDD (Time Division Duplex) and FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) Cat 6.
At present there are 9 LTE-A networks commercially available across 7 countries. By the end of 2014, this number is expected to reach 40 globally. Qualcomm currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).