In addition to promising full compliance with the final 5G standard, Exynos Modem 5100 includes solid 5G radio compatibility: up to 6Gbps speeds when connected to millimeter wave towers, up to 2Gbps with soon to be more common sub-6Ghz towers, and up to 1.6Gbps with late-stage 4G LTE Advanced towers. It is also compatible with 2G GSM and CDMA, 3G WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, and HSPA networks, enabling a single phone to be used in many regions — notably including the U.S. and South Korea.
Although the specs above might look like alphabet soup, the critical takeaway is that Samsung — and any other 5G device developer that uses the chip — can pick a reasonably energy-efficient single-chip cellular solution rather than two or more separate modems. By comparison, Motorola’s upcoming 5G Moto Mod accessory requires two separate Qualcomm Snapdragon modems, in addition to the chip already found in the Moto Z3 phone.
Samsung says that the Exynos Modem 5100 will be available to customers by the end of this year. In addition to having produced prototype 5G tablets, Samsung has already announced that it’s working on 5G smartphones, including at least one that will apparently launch before the Galaxy S10.