Furthermore, we're told that X50-powered devices "are expected to be available during the first half of 2018." The timing makes sense as the finalized 5G standard should arrive in the same year, and operators like Verizon will certainly be needing test devices soon -- especially since it's been trialling the 28 GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) band which is what the X50 will support initially (on top of 4G LTE). That said, Qualcomm does stress that this modem is designed for early 5G deployments, in the sense that it's leaning more towards the experimental soft rollouts, so chances are it may be a while before mainstream devices integrate the X50 (or even a newer modem chip, for that matter).
The whopping 5 Gbps download speed is achieved by using a generous 800 MHz bandwidth in the mmWave spectrum. While it's true that such a high frequency is limited by its penetration range, such modems and cells will make use of MIMO antenna technology with intelligent beamforming and beam tracking to bounce signal off walls, in order to go around obstacles. It'll be years before we go fully 5G so early deployments will likely have limited coverage, but don't worry, as the X50 can seamlessly switch between 5G and Gigabit LTE, so long as it's paired with a Snapdragon processor with an integrated Gigabit LTE modem -- like the X16 announced earlier this year. Such a boost in connection speeds will let us look forward to new use cases in the mobile world -- real-time augmented reality plus virtual reality, super high quality multimedia content, instantaneous cloud computing applications, you name it.