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It’s been a long time coming, but Intel has finally started shipping its LTE modem

Devices with Intel’s Atom chips have so far been restricted to 3G, but that’s about to change. Engadget reports that Intel’s XMM 7160 is now shipping to manufacturers, enabling 4G speeds when paired with an Atom chipset.

Intel’s modem supports 15 LTE bands across the world, as well as 2G, 3G, and Voice Over LTE. That will lead to higher quality phone calls in the future, at least when networks start to implement the technology. The first device to ship with Intel’s modem is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, and more are on the way.

This may not seem like a big deal given Qualcomm’s LTE dominance right now, but it’s important for two reasons. One, it shows that Intel is taking mobile seriously and recognizes the important of LTE access.

Secondly, it could mean that we’ll see a flurry of budget handsets with Intel’s LTE solution in the not too distant future. Orange’s San Diego, for instance, was a good value handset for the money, and Intel’s Atom chip gave SoCs at the time a run for their money. If a network or manufacturer were to use a Bay Trail chip with Intel’s LTE modem, then it could make for a very enticing handset for under £200.

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