MediaTek 5G chipset will be ready in Q3 conceding lead to Qualcomm

MediaTek today announced the launch of its MediaTek 5G chipset at Computex 2019, one of the largest IT conferences in Asia.
MediaTek 5G chipset for smartphones
The current MediaTek 5G chipset is designed for sub-6GHz 5G networks that are launching in Asia, North America and Europe. The chipset will not support millimeter wave bands that are available in the U.S.

The new 5G chipset will be ready for lead customer samples in the third quarter of 2019. MediaTek 5G chipset will be available in commercial 5G smartphones by the first quarter of 2020. MediaTek will reveal full specifications of the MediaTek 5G chipset in the coming months.

The delay in introducing the 5G chipset indicates that MediaTek will be missing a part of the 5G chipset revenue in the initial phase of the 5G business. Qualcomm is currently leading the 5G chipset market. Intel has already decided against investment in 5G chipset business for smartphones.

MediaTek, which is introducing the company’s first 5G chipset, also indicated the chipset maker will be tapping OEMs for supporting their high-end smartphones. The development assumes significance because MediaTek will take more time to support a cost effective 5G phone for mass markets.

Limitations of MediaTek’s chip

US-based Qualcomm in February announced its second-generation 5G chip for smartphones.

Huawei Technologies and Samsung Electronics are also developing 5G chips, supplying their own smartphones.

Qualcomm’s chip handles the two variants of 5G networks — sub-6 and millimeter wave bands enabling all 5G network operators to use it.

MediaTek’s chip will not work on all 5G networks from carriers such as Verizon and AT&T that use millimeter wave technology because MediaTek’s chip currently handles only sub-6 variants of 5G networks.

Russ Mestechkin, MediaTek’s senior director of sales and business development for the U.S. and Latin America, said the company was confident its chip could compete in the market for phones designed to work on networks that use sub-6 technology, such as those from Sprint and T-Mobile US in the United States and many Chinese networks.

The 5G chipset, with the MediaTek Helio M70 5G modem built in, includes Arm’s Cortex-A77 CPU, Mali-G77 GPU and MediaTek’s advanced AI processing unit (APU) to meet the power and performance demands of 5G customers.

The multi-mode 5G chipset is for 5G stand alone and non-stand alone (SA/NSA) sub-6GHz networks. It supports connectivity from 2G to 4G to bridge existing network access while 5G networks roll out globally.

MediaTek President Joe Chen said: “MediaTek will power rollouts of 5G premium level devices.”

MediaTek works with leading cellular operators, equipment makers and suppliers to verify the market readiness of its 5G technologies for mobile and also for smart homes and smart cars.

MediaTek works with 5G component suppliers and cellular operators around RF technology to bring a standards-based and optimized 5G solution to the market quickly.

Technology companies collaborating with MediaTek on RF technology include Oppo, Vivo and top tier RF suppliers like Skyworks, Qorvo, and muRata, designing the front end module that can accommodate 5G.

Baburajan K