The MediaTek Helio M70 modem will bring 5G NR support to smartphones in 2019
Mobile phone chip-maker MediaTek has announced the Helio M70 modem which the company has said will be ready for commercial usage in 2019. The company has been in contact with Nokia, NTT Docomo, China Mobile, and Huawei to develop a partnership. The chip is one of the first to support 5Gbps connections, supporting 5G networks which are beginning to roll-out across the globe. Qualcomm has already announced the Snapdragon X50 modem which aims to do the same thing but on the Snapdragon platform.
Carriers have been testing 5G networks for a few months now, with the near-final specification released by 3GPP in December of last year. MediaTek intends to release an integrated SoC with the 5G modem, but it may not be with the Helio M70. The modem will be fabricated under TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing process and should see the first chips arrive in early 2019 for use in commercial devices. This is in an effort to get a foothold in the 5G market before it grows and leaves the company behind. The company also aims to ramp up shipments in 2020-2022 to take a greater foothold in the market.
MediaTek’s developments are interesting as we already know that the company has decided to focus on the mid-range and low-end markets instead. As a result, these chips may be the first mid-range and low-end chips to support 5G as the technology likely won’t make its way down to competitors’ lower-end offerings for many months after the first flagships release. This isn’t the first advancement the company has made in the mid-range segment against competitors, either. The Helio P22 was the first mid-range SoC to be manufactured on a 12nm fabrication process. The P22 comes with Artifical Intelligence capabilities that outclass other available options in its price range. MediaTek’s renewed focus on lower-end hardware certainly is shaking things up, and we may see other chip manufacturers switch up their efforts too if it starts to become threatening.