The company MediaTek was not among the first to switch its mobile processors to support 4G LTE communication standards. However, in the case of 5G, she is not going to repeat this mistake. In addition, the implementation of 5G in MediaTek will differ from competitors, which may give it an advantage. Representatives of one Internet portal visited the headquarters MediaTek in Taiwan to get more information on the matter.
The general manager of the mobile division, Lee, has been with the company for 15 years. He spoke about the company's “secret weapon” – a system on a chip with support 5G, which takes up less space inside the device and uses less power. As a result, smartphones won't become gigantic because they don't need large batteries and a complex array of antennas. Testing will take place in 2019, and in 2020 the chip will become available to the general public.
5G mmWave (5G millimeter wave)
So far the only supported product 5G has gone on sale. This is not the smartphone itself, but the Moto Mod for the Moto X device. It looks like a large power bank and it is. In addition to the battery, there is a large antenna inside. Connecting to networks 5G is done using a system called mmWave (millimeter wave). This is the standard that will be applied by most European mobile operators.
This is not a completely familiar cellular communication system. Instead, it uses a network of 5G Wi-Fi routers to connect mobile devices to new high-speed networks. Modern antennas and related devices will not fit in a smartphone. This may require larger smartphones and larger batteries. mmWave is considered a technically challenging technology, especially for the smartphone market.
MediaTek annually spends $ 1.8 billion on research and development. Not the first year 5G takes a significant part of this amount. Since the middle of last year, the volume of investments in development 5G has grown tenfold, and the strategy has been revised. What is the strategy for using mmWave at the moment? In short, mmWave is not applied at all yet. MediaTek will work on mmWave technology, but for the first few years 5G an alternative technology called Sub-6GHz will be used. The differences between them are quite large.
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MediaTek supports Sub-6GHz 5G
The company is confident that in the next 2-4 years the market will be for Sub-6GHz, until the demand for mmWave grows.
Sub-6GHz is distributed in China, Asia and Europe. MediaTek names these regions most important to 5G in 2020 and 2021. Technically speaking, the process is similar to adding 4G LTE support. Requires a minimum amount of additional space inside smartphones compared to current chips. Due to this, the appearance will remain largely unchanged, and it will be possible not to increase the size of the batteries. But 5G will consume more power compared to 4G, so a larger battery will still be required. MediaTek prides itself on the energy efficiency of its chips, the 5G chip should also be relatively economical.
A report from the Association of Global Mobile Vendors recently revealed Sub-6GHz bandwidth for operation 5G. It is now larger compared to mmWave. MediaTek together with the mobile operator makes a bet on this direction.
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So the new chip MediaTek 5G will only support Sub-6GHz, not mmWave. 5G is critical to the entire tech industry. However, isn't having support for only one standard a disadvantage? This sacrifice had to be made in order to gain an advantage in the important Chinese and European markets.
Now all manufacturers are working on the standard 5G at about the same pace and pursue the same goal. Close collaboration is required between carriers, device manufacturers and processor manufacturers.
Sub-6GHz technology tops the list of priorities MediaTek, but the company does not forget about mmWave either. The standards will eventually work together, and MediaTek plans ahead when the technology 5G matures. The choice was made not only for technical reasons, but also for financial reasons. The investment may not pay off if you only bet on mmWave.
Data transfer speed is always of great importance to the end user. 5G is the perfect solution.
Qualcomm is the main competitor MediaTek in this race. She develops mmWave and Sub-6GHz antennas for future devices 5G.
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As always, speed is important. Will it be able to withstand the required speed MediaTek, keeping in mind its problems with 4G? Management speaks of a big change in the company's thinking. She tries to be humble, but does not want to be the nondescript market participant she has been perceived to be in recent years. MediaTek is counting on the role of technology leader, judging by the ambition of the leadership. A massive investment in development 5G should help to gain this leadership.
In 2019 MediaTek will be testing the new Helio M70 5G modem with global mobile operators. It should be part of non-smartphone devices. MediaTek has a vision for the automotive industry, where 5G will also play an important role. The company also has a presence in the smart speaker and smart TV market. Many products, from Amazon Echo Dot to Sony Android TV, run on processors MediaTek.
The already announced Helio M70 chip will appear before an unnamed mobile chip with support 5G. His developments MediaTek are going to show at the Mobile World Congress in February. After that, the first wave of smartphone production is expected in the second half of 2020 5G, and in Europe and the United States a year later.
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Low cost, high performance
This is still a long way off, but the networks 5G will not appear tomorrow either. MediaTek expects mobile devices with chips 5G to cost less than £ 25,000. ($ 350). This will make them available to many people.
The company knows about the hype 5G and believes in the potential of this technology. In the future, there may be applications 5G that no one thinks about now. This was also the case when 4G replaced 3G. There is a possibility of a significant decrease in latency, which is important for mobile virtual and augmented reality applications or autonomous cars.
MediaTech will be represented among the first wave of products 5G. This time, the company is better prepared than it was in the days of 4G.