updated 10:30 am EST, Thu February 7, 2008
Qualcomm Multi-Mode 4G
Qualcomm today said it would be the first company to produce chipsets capable of supporting multiple 4G Internet standards. Three of its chipsets will now not only support the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard that will be used many larger world carriers but also competing and bridging standards: the top two chipsets, the MDM9600 and MDM 9800, will support the upcoming EVDO Rev. B and Ultra-Mobile Broadband (UMB) standards for CDMA networks even as they support LTE networks once they appear. Each will be powerful enough to handle downloads as quick as 50Mbps and uploads as fast as 25Mbps, Qualcomm says.
These and the simpler MDM9200 will also support in-between "3.5G" standards such as HSPA+ and will also be completely backwards compatible with the earlier standards they share, such as the EVDO Rev. A format (in use by Sprint and Verizon) as well as regular HSPA and UMTS. Qualcomm starts sampling the chipsets in spring 2009 and should begin introducing them into devices shortly afterwards.
The unveiling reveals the earliest possible timeframe for the actual rollout of LTE with cellular networks, which were initially believed to surface in 2009 or 2010 through AT&T and Verizon in the US as well as Vodafone and others in Europe. The technology is capable of a theoretical peak of 326Mbps downstream and is quick enough in both directions to allow two-way HD video and other extremely bandwidth-heavy activities.