Intel Unveils New 5G Modem, Set to Launch in 2020

BY Evan Selleck

Published 12 Nov 2018

The Intel XMM 8100 5G modem

5G network connectivity is all the rage for the major wireless carriers, all of which are focused on rolling out the faster network speeds to customers as soon as possible.

But rolling out the network infrastructure is only part of the equation, because smartphones and tablets, along with mobile hotspots, need to actually connect to that network for customers to take advantage of it. We just heard that Samsung is planning on offering its first 5G smartphone in early 2019, and the same can be said for other smartphone manufacturers as well.

Well, Intel wants to offer up a 5G solution of its own, which it has just debuted this week. The Intel XMM 8100 5G modem is now officially official, and Intel says it will be released to device manufacturers in the second half of 2019. If all things go according to plan, then, the first devices with this 5G modem installed under the hood should see the light of day in the early stages of 2020.

“Intel’s new XMM 8160 5G modem provides the ideal solution to support large volumes for scaling across multiple device categories to coincide with broad 5G deployments. We are seeing great demand for the advanced 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 to deliver a leading 5G solution.”
–Dr. Cormac Conroy, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Communication and Devices Group.”

Intel’s modem can achieve peak speeds up to 6 gigabits per second, and it will support both the standalone and non-standalone specifications for the 5G New Radio (NR) standard. Intel is making sure to offer up legacy support for the aging network options, too, including 4G, 3G, and 2G. Finally, the XMM 8100 5G modem will also support the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum.

Intel’s planned rollout actually matches with Apple’s rumored expectations for its first 5G smartphone. We recently reported that Apple is planning on launching its first 5G iPhone in 2020 (which would probably arrive in late 2020, thanks to Apple’s yearly refresh schedule). And since Apple has exclusively switched to Intel for its modems, these two companies will probably be working together well into the future.

[via Intel]