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5G Advanced Speed Record Set by Qualcomm, But Will It Convince Consumers?

Using its first 5G Advanced modem, the Snapdragon X75, Qualcomm aggregated four sub-6GHz spectrum carriers totaling 300 MHz. Added to this was 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), resulting in a peak downlink speed of 7.5 Gbps under test conditions on a dedicated 5G standalone network.

Qualcomm noted that 4x carrier aggregation allows operators to reuse spectrum, while 1024 QAM means more data per transmission.

Although a large gap exists between lab and real-world conditions, the demo provides an enticing glimpse of upcoming deployments over the next few years.

“The Snapdragon X75 5G Modem-RF System is our most intelligent wireless modem, designed for the future 5G Advanced ready networks that operators worldwide will define,” said Qualcomm’s Sunil Patil.

What these experiences will mean for average users remains uncertain.

Qualcomm’s release mentions video streaming, downloads, gaming “and more.” Yes, more bandwidth enables sharper video, faster downloads, and more immersive gaming – all user positives. But will these compel people to upgrade mobile services, particularly at higher prices? Likely only once pricing reaches parity.

As extensively discussed for 5G non-standalone, enhanced mobile broadband hasn’t generated much excitement regarding the latest mobile network tech.

With advanced features like network slicing, standalone 5G Advanced holds far greater promise than NSA, explaining the push from Qualcomm and others.

Earlier this week, using 5G Advanced and 400 MHz of 6 GHz spectrum, the UAE’s TDRA achieved 10 Gbps peak throughput. The regulator said this “cutting-edge” technology will support advanced IoT, smart cities, and metaverse services – again promised with standard 5G.

More bandwidth brings not just new capabilities, but pressure to demonstrate their value.

In the 3G era, with underutilized networks, the elusive “killer app” was touted to generate sufficient user excitement for mobile data. Operators could tweak pricing and allowances, but desirable devices like the iPhone with its app store and intuitive mobile Internet access were key – and the first wasn’t even 3G.

Now in the 5G era, the mobile industry seems to be awaiting another iPhone moment.

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