670+ Mbps Smartphone Speed, Demonstrated by T-Mobile

In San Jose, California, T-Mobile and Qualcomm jointly announced that T-Mobile users across hundreds of markets would see their maximum broadband speed climb, thanks to the roll out of a combination of technologies from both companies. The high-speed broadband experience described as “Gigabit-class LTE” because it nearly reaches the 1 Gbps barrier in one of many steps on the way to 5G, the fifth generation wireless broadband.

LTE Advanced is a broad definition of high-speed LTE, while Gigabit-Class LTE typically means 0.8 Gbps and above. As it stands, T-Mobile USA says that about half of the market it serves is Gigabit-class capable.  Australia was the first country to deploy a Gigabit-class commercial LTE network, and we were there to experience it firsthand. It is unbelievable to see such speed on wireless broadband, but this is what the future looked like, and it is rapidly becoming available

To make LTE Advanced happen, the T-Mobile network had to be upgraded using technologies such as 4X4 MIMO which increase the number of radio transactions occurring in parallel. You can think of it as concurrent downloads. There’s also QAM-256 which increased the quantity of information that can be transported within a single radio wave.

The combined technological advances lead to a drastic increase in data transmission rates. This is not only good for download speeds, but it also decongests the LTE network, which makes the experience better for everyone on it.

Handsets have to support this of course, and that’s where Qualcomm plays a visible part (the company also has a hand in the infrastructure side). With platforms such as the Snapdragon 835, which integrated the Qualcomm X16 gigabit-class modem, high-end handsets can operate with networks such as T-Mobile’s and reach the full potential of the network.

In San Jose, live speeds around 670 Mbps (download) and 58 Mbps (upload) where demonstrated on stage, and it is fair to say that it puts to shame most home Internet connections in America.

Because the network changes happened slightly out of sync of the latest phone releases, not all Snapdragon 835 handsets support the new speeds. Sometimes, small antenna changes are required, and that is not something you can fix with a firmware upgrade. Today these phones can work on T-Mobile’s new network to various degrees:

I think that the LG V30 is the one handset that can exploit *all* the new features, although the others benefit from higher speeds too. You can expect nearly all T-Mobile high-end phones in 2018 to support the new network. The iPhone X has partial support, but does not handle the 600 MHz frequency.

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about Qualcomm and T-Mobile.

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