A little while ago, a rumor from G for Games (via SamMobile) claimed that the variant of the upcoming Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) Galaxy S6 featuring Samsung's own Exynos 7 Octa processor will feature LTE-Advanced Category 10 cellular connectivity. Additionally, the source claims this will be courtesy of a Samsung-designed cellular modem. While I'm not convinced the rumor is entirely accurate, I do think it's very close to being true.
Category 9 LTE-Advanced courtesy of Qualcomm
The rumor claims category 10 LTE-Advanced, which means 450 megabits per second download speeds and 100 megabits per second upload speeds, and it claims a Samsung-designed modem, to boot. I find this very difficult to believe simply given that Samsung barely got its own category 6 LTE-Advanced modem out the door. Even then, it chose Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) MDM9235 and Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) XMM 7260 LTE-Advanced modems for a number of the Galaxy Note 4 models that ended up shipping.
I find it very hard to believe that Samsung, which has generally trailed Qualcomm in cellular baseband development, would be shipping a home-grown category 10 LTE-Advanced modem in early 2015 when Qualcomm's own category 10 modem is likely to be a late first-half/early second-half of 2015 event.
However, Qualcomm did just announce that it would be upgrading the modem inside of the Snapdragon 810 integrated applications processor and modem to support category 9 speeds. Category 9 brings the same 450 megabits per second download speeds that category 10 does, but upload speeds are 50 megabits per second rather than 100 on category 7.
Given that the new Galaxy S6 is rumored to feature a Snapdragon 810 processor, it's probably a safe bet that category 9 LTE-Advanced capability is in the cards for that device. Not quite category 10, but close enough.
The Galaxy Note 5 will likely sport category 10, though
Qualcomm did announce back in November that it is sampling the aforementioned MDM9x45. I expect next year's Galaxy Note 5 from Samsung will feature this particular cellular modem, which should mean category 10 speeds for that device. It's debatable as to whether the carriers will have the infrastructure in place to support those blazing fast download/upload speeds, but investors should expect Samsung to play this up as an attractive "checkbox" feature.
Whose modem(s) will power the Galaxy Note 5?
As mentioned above, Samsung did deploy its own category 6 LTE-Advanced modem into some variants of the Galaxy Note 4 this year. I wouldn't be surprised if Samsung did have a category 10 stand-alone modem to deploy in some variants of the Note 5.
Additionally, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) also signaled that it will be sampling its own category 10 LTE-Advanced modem during the first quarter of 2015 for commercial deployment in the second half of 2015. As with Samsung's own modem, I wouldn't be surprised if Intel were to power some variant of the Note 5 with this silicon as well.