Qualcomm to bring faster phone downloads with new chip

Qualcomm has said that it plans to create new chipsets for mobile phones that will take advantage of the L-Band spectrum previously earmarked for its FLO TV service in the UK meaning users of a Qualcomm chip could get faster downloads than those that don't.

But instead of using that spectrum for TV broadcasts, it will offer phone makers who use the chips the chance to enable supplemental downlinks for faster data access when out and about.

“Qualcomm has been promoting the use of the L-band for supplemental mobile downlink in Europe and has been working on the harmonisation of this spectrum within CEPT for this purpose".

“Supplemental mobile downlink technology, as described in the Qualcomm-AT&T announcement, used in conjunction with existing paired mobile bands can lead to substantial improvements in mobile broadband networks capabilities to economically support increasing consumer demand for rich multimedia content with enhanced quality of service".

“Qualcomm is integrating carrier aggregation technology into its chipset roadmap to enable supplemental downlink”, the company tells Pocket-lint.

Reading between the lines the comments echo AT&T's plans for the US and suggest that users will be able to use the spectrum to download content faster on the go as if it was a giant Wi-Fi hotspot rather than relying on the operators network coverage.

Whether this would be an additional paid-for service or whether it would be leased to mobile phone networks is unclear.

What is clear though is that manufacturers like HTC or RIM, that use the new chips, could promote faster download speeds than manufacturers that don’t use Qualcomm chips. 

Qualcomm has announced that it has agreed to sell its Lower 700MHz D and E Block (Channel 55 and 56) unpaired U.S. spectrum licenses to AT&T for $1.925 billion. The sale follows Qualcomm’s previously announced plan to restructure and evaluate strategic options related to the FLO TV business operated by FLO TV Incorporated, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm. It is expected that the FLO TV business and network will be shut down in March 2011.

AT&T said that as part of its longer-term 4G network plan, it intends to deploy this spectrum as supplemental downlink, using carrier aggregation technology.

"This technology is designed to deliver substantial capacity gains by enabling unpaired spectrum to be used in conjunction with paired spectrum", it said.