Qualcomm has a new piece of silicon that it has added to its 5G-supporting lineup – the Snapdragon 690. The latest offering could be the most significant to date as it is designed for use in entry-level and low-cost mobile devices.

To date we’ve already seen the chipsets that Qualcomm has created for flagship and mid-range devices, and the fact that the technology has already filtered down to the entry-level space is quite promising.

As such, it could mean South Africans could soon get their hands on a 5G smartphone without having to pay R20k-plus for a flagship device.

Shifting back to the Snapdragon 690, it is supported by Qualcomm’s X51 5G Modem-RF System, which takes care of things as far as connectivity is concerned. To that end the company says peak download speeds with 5G register at 2.5Gbps and LTE comes in at 1.2Gbps.

Upload speeds are a little less impressive, with it peaking at 660Mbps on 5G and 210Mbps on LTE. Given that most consumers will be using 5G phones for data and streaming-related tasks for now, it’s understandable that priority was given to downloading.

Along with the speeds, Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 690 will also support global 5G bands, both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA), with the spectrum falling within the sub-6GHz range.

For now Qualcomm has not detailed which smartphone makers will be making use of this new chipset, but it is believed the likes of LG and HMD Global (Nokia) are eyeing its use, with devices expected to be revealed next quarter.

With both of the aforementioned companies having a local presence, as well as unveiling 5G devices in recent months and years, we could see low-cost options arrive before the year’s end.

As for how much they would cost, Qualcomm estimates that the Snapdragon 690 would be used in phones around the $150 (~R2 577) to $200 (~R 3 437) range.