The XMM8160 is a 6Gbit per second multimode modem for phones, PCs and broadband access gateways. It will support the 5G New Radio (NR) standard, including standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) modes, as well as 4G, 3G and 2G legacy radios in a single chipset. The modem offers technology to support millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum as well as sub 6GHz spectrum.
The move by Intel is being seen as an effort to counter progress made by Qualcomm, which claims to have more than 18 companies signed up to use its Snapdragon X50 5G modem and with reports that some are testing prototypes of the device in 2018.
The list has been reported as Asus, Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Connected Technologies Limited, HMD Global, HTC, Inseego/Novatel Wireless, LG, NetComm Wireless, Netgear, Oppo, Sharp Corp., Sierra Wireless, Sony Mobile, Telit, Vivo, Wingtech, WNC, Xiaomi and ZTE. Notable absentees from the list are the market leaders Apple, Samsung and Huawei.
Intel is reported to have Apple on-board and the bringing forward of the launch date may be necessary to keep Apple and other interested parties from defecting to Qualcomm. It will allow Apple and others to verify performance of the modem prior to launching products in 2020.
"We are seeing great demand for the advanced feature set of the XMM8160, 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," said Cormac Conroy, general manager of the communications business group at Intel, in a statement.
Commercial devices using the Intel XMM 8160 5G modem including phones, PCs and broadband access gateways are expected to be available in 1H20, Intel said.