Qualcomm: The World Will Solve the ‘mmWave Tax’

Is the millimeter wave (mmWave) beating in retreat or has it just started to move forward? High-speed, short-range 5G technology has taken a real beating in US perceptions, as it has failed to sweep the country by storm and mmWave phones are still more expensive than 5G “sub-6” smartphones. .

Millimeter wave technology is “just another band,” said Qualcomm Senior Vice President of Engineering Durga Malladi, and prices will drop when there is a greater volume of mmWave devices to serve globally, a change he says will will produce in 2022.

“It all starts a certain way,” that is, expensive, Malladi said before the company’s Snapdragon Summit. “But over time, we see that a lot of mix-and-match, sub-6 and mmWave go hand in hand and more importantly, mmWave becomes a technology that is not only prevalent in the US and Japan.” .

Europe is starting to roll out mmWave in small ways, but the big change for the market will be the launch of China Unicom’s mmWave around the Winter Olympics in 2022, Malladi said. Few Chinese phones currently have mmWave, but that will change if China Unicom starts demanding the technology.

“So the number of OEMs entering the space will be much greater than what you see now. Today, you see a lot of flagship models along with a few others here and there, but we expect a lot of the Chinese models to come.” Malladi said.

Chinese vendors adopting mmWave will end up spilling mmWave on phones destined for the European market, where companies like Xiaomi are very popular, he suggested. Those much larger volumes will lower unit prices for mmWave.

One thing Malladi didn’t mention is Qualcomm’s lower-cost competitor MediaTek’s entry into the mmWave market. At its own annual event in early November, MediaTek showed a slide suggesting it would introduce an upper-mid-range chipset with mmWave in 2022.

From Qualcomm new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, which will likely appear on US Samsung Galaxy S22 phones, supports millimeter waves.

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