MediaTek has unveiled its first 7nm 5G chipset – the first mobile chipset in the world to integrate a 5G modem. Besides the company’s 5G Helio M70 modem, the new chipset also contains the Cortex-A77 CPU, Mali-G77 GPU and MediaTek’s most advanced AI processor.
This chipset specializes for both separate 5G network infrastructures and network infrastructure below 6GHz in general. As well as support for connections from 2G to 5G. The chipset will be available to OEMs and manufacturers in the third quarter of 2019. The first devices to use this SoC chipset will be available in early 2020.
As a chip designer for mid-range and low-cost devices, it is not surprising that devices using this 5G chip will be cheaper than current 5G phones on the market. For example Samsung S10 5G which price goes up to $ 1,229. Whether MediaTek lowers the cost of the production of the the 5G chip or not, the new chipset will also lead other manufacturers to lowering the price for their 5G network supported phones.
MediaTek’s general manager, Finbarr Moynihan, said: “manufacturers will decide on the features, memory, monitors and cameras they put into the device. this will be a reason to value every part reasonably. I think this special product will be more within the high-end segment. Either way, MediaTek’s long-term focus will be on the new high-end line for the upcoming 5G generation. “
How will MediaTek bring the 5G connection to low cost devices?
Companies are currently considering two types of 5G frequencies: millimeter wavelengths (or abbreviated “mmWave”) are usually between 24 and 90 GHz, and frequencies below 6GHz (sub-6GHz) – including the 2 GHz band and 8 GHz often available for 4G networks. MediaTek’s first 5G chip only works with frequencies below 6GHz, saving cost and design space when omitting mmWave connection technology.
However, MediaTek 5G chipset also has impressive parameters. For example maximum download speed of 4.7Gbps and maximum upload speed of 2.5Gbps. As well as support of 2G to 4G network modes. It also has energy sharing feature when running on 5G bandwidth to increase energy efficiency for certain applications up to 50% increase.
Even if frequencies below 6GHz do not reach high speeds as the mmWave frequency ” around 1.4Gbps as quoted by Verizon”, they have the advantage of coverage. This allows homes’ small network coverage on a wider area. This means the cost of deploying 5G networks with these frequencies will be lower. And the number of broadcast antennae is less.
Using the 7nm process will be convenient. As well as integrating a 5G modem right on the processor. which will be a way to minimize the cost of MediaTek 5G chip. It helps reduce chip size and boost energy efficiency. MediaTek’s approach is different from Qualcomm. It splitted the 5G Snapdragon X50 / X55 modem into a separate module for the Snapdragon 855 chipset.
Mr. Moynihan said: “We actively go towards integrating on a single chip. The solution of many companies for 5G is to use two hybrid chips. At that time they will face and seek solutions with chip size, cost and energy challenges. “
Behind MediaTek’s strategy .
The expensive cost of deploying 5G networks with full spectrum is also the reason MediaTek bet on 5G technology with these frequencies below 6GHz. Moynihan said: “We think the frequency below 6GHz will become the key 5G technology, deployed on a large scale globally.”
“We are also developing mmWave technology, but obviously need to take a step forward both in equipment and infrastructure. And focus around how you build 5G wavelength wavelength networks, and support devices. These special wavelengths, will make millimeter wavelengths super-high for a while. This will definitely take some time before the barrier drops. “
High prices will of course limit the introduction of 5G to the majority of consumers, who often cannot afford expensive equipment currently supporting this connection. For even those who accept such high prices, it must be acknowledged that 5G does not have many attractive reasons for them, except for the extremely high speed of download. Companies are actively looking for these kind of consumers.