Qualcomm's new phone modem may help overcome 5G's flaws

The Snapdragon X75 is the first modem to support 5G Advanced.


It's safe to say 5G hasn't lived up to the hype — while it's much easier to find than it once was, the sometimes lackluster performance and reliability won't have you scrambling to upgrade from LTE. Qualcomm may be nudging the technology forward, at least. The company has introduced the Snapdragon X75, billed as the first phone modem ready for 5G Advanced. The new cellular standard promises much-improved throughput, coverage, reliability and traffic juggling. You may see meaningful speed boosts, fewer dropoffs and better performance on busy networks.

Whether or not you need 5G Advanced, the Snapdragon X75 offers some improvements versus earlier chips. Qualcomm claims longer battery life and more consistent performance in tricky locations like elevators and subway trains. The modem can handle 5G/4G dual data on two SIM cards at once. There are also boosts to uploads, including support for Snapdragon Satellite.

Qualcomm is already offering samples of Snapdragon X75 chips to manufacturers, although the first products using the modem aren't expected to arrive until the second half of the year. It's likely to become ubiquitous when it does arrive, though. The company's modems are the de facto choice for Snapdragon-powered Android phones, and are (currently) used in iPhones.

The larger question may be when you'll see the benefits. The 5G Advanced standard isn't due to release until 2024, and it may be a while after that before your carrier adopts the technology. Still, the Snapdragon X75 lays the groundwork for adoption. You might already have an Advanced-compatible phone by the time you can take advantage of the service.