Nokia and Qualcomm have successfully transmitted data at speeds of up to 1.175Gbps over T-Mobile US's 4G network, breaking the gigabit over LTE-A barrier.
The test was conducted using 60Hz of downlink spectrum and 3x carrier aggregation on T-Mobile's network, a single Nokia 4.9G AirScale Base Station, and a test device incorporating Qualcomm's Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, combining 4×4 MIMO and 256QAM.
Using 12 separate streams of LTE data to record speed tests, the companies achieved a top speed that was a few megabits shy of the theoretical top download speed possible using a Category 18 LTE device—1.2Gbps.
The X20 was announced in February, at which time Qualcomm was confident such speeds could be achieved. Now it has the proof.
While a lab test doesn't tell us how this may perform in the real world, and doesn't account for how phones might hand over signals between cell towers, Qualcomm Technologies EVP and president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, Cristiano Amon, says phones with X20 modems will be on shelves next year.
"Using the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem we are breaking through the gigabit barrier, further enhancing network capacity and real user data rates," Amon says. "And working with Nokia and T-Mobile, using our second-generation Gigabit LTE modem, we've now shown the steady strides we are making as we progress on the path to 5G. User devices supporting these speeds are expected to be made commercially available in the first half of 2018."
Given what Qualcomm's been able to show us about the effect of newer devices on networks, that's good news for everyone. People actually using Category 18 LTE phones with an X20 modem should expect consistent download speeds of 100Mbps.
The announcement comes on the eve of Mobile World Congress Americas 2017, which starts on Tuesday, Sept. 12 in San Francisco, where Qualcomm and Nokia will demonstrate near 1.2Gbps data rates at their respective booths.