Intel announced new chips and partnerships to bolster revenue from 5G networking business – at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2019).
Intel, the world’s second-largest chip maker by revenue behind Samsung, started the wireless data business with its acquisition of German modem maker Infineon in 2011, Reuters reported. Its sole major modem customer is Apple, whose iPhones feature Intel modem chips to connect to mobile data networks.
Intel competes against rivals such as Qualcomm, the number one 5G chipset company, and MediaTek in modem business. Intel faces lower margins than Intel is accustomed to making on its flagship processor chips that go into personal computers and data centers.
Qualcomm already announced that its Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem are powering 5G smartphones from Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo and LG Electronics. Huawei is using its own chipset Kirin for the costly 5G smartphone that will hit select telecom markets.
MediaTek today said its 5G modems will be powering smartphones targeting 2020 launches for global telecom markets.
Intel said its future in 5G networks, which are expected to roll out this year and next, extends beyond selling modems to smartphone makers.
Intel plans to supply 5G modems to automakers for use in connected vehicles, as well as to manufacturers for use in connecting industrial equipment. Intel also plans to land its other chips – including processors and the programmable chips it gained by acquiring Altera in 2016 – in a variety of networking gear.
“Intel is delivering new products and innovation to propel the adoption of 5G and empower our customers and partners to grow their businesses,” Sandra Rivera, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Network Platforms Group, said.
Ericsson is adopting Intel’s Snow Ridge silicon to evolve its 5G base station products in the future. Intel’s Snow Ridge, the 10nm base station system-on-chip (SoC) technology, will be available in the second half of 2019.
Intel is aiming to sell versions of its processors for use in 5G base stations, which help carry mobile phone signals back to core networks. Intel reached deals with Ericsson and ZTE to use Intel processors in their 5G networking gear.
Customers Rakuten and Affirmed Networks are sampling the Intel FPGA PAC N3000 for product delivery in 2019’s third quarter. Intel’s FPGA Programmable Acceleration Card N3000 is designed for the acceleration of virtualized network functions ranging from 5G RAN to core network applications.
Intel announced a collaboration with Skyworks to optimize the multimode 5G radio frequency (RF) solution for the Intel XMM 8160 5G modem.
The XMM 8160 platform, including RF front end, will be available in 2019’s fourth quarter for product certification purposes at select customers, with broad availability targeted for the first quarter of 2020.
Fibocom, a manufacturer of cellular M.2 modules, will enhance its products and integrate the Intel XMM 8160 5G modem.
Gateway manufacturing vendors D-Link, Arcadyan, Gemtek and VVDN announced they are adopting the Intel XMM 7560 gigabit LTE modem for their gateway solutions, with upgrade plans to move to the Intel XMM 8160 5G modem in early 2020.
The company also introduced new programmable chips that will compete against Xilinx.