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Here's what MediaTek has planned for 5G in 2019 and beyond

The company will be running a live demo of its 5G modem at MWC 2019, but launch devices are still a while away.

Published onNovember 13, 2018

The MediaTek M70 5G modem.
  • A MediaTek executive said the firm will make its 5G modem available to OEMs by the end of 2019.
  • The company expects the first phones with its 5G modem to appear in the second half of 2020.
  • MediaTek will initially focus on 5G devices in China before looking to the U.S. and Europe.

The mobile industry is moving to 5G at a breakneck pace, with the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung, and Huawei all pushing ahead with launches in 2019.

MediaTek isn’t standing still, either, having revealed its 5G-capable M70 modem (pictured above) earlier this year. Now, the Taiwanese chipmaker has revealed a few more details about its plans for 2019, including its 5G strategy.

TL Lee, general manager of MediaTek’s mobile business unit, told journalists the company would focus on two projects for 2019. The first project is a new 4G chipset “based on the success of the P60,” targeting mid-range to high-end brackets. MediaTek previously told Android Authority that it plans to launch a chipset that was even more advanced than the new Helio P70 before the end of the year.

The second project on MediaTek’s agenda for 2019 is further development of its 5G platform.

When will we see the modem in phones?

The MediaTek logo as seen at Mobile World Congress 2018.

“We will spend the whole year of 2019 on a joint test (sic) with carriers worldwide,” Lee explained. The chipmaker will also be offering a live demonstration of the M70 modem at Mobile World Congress 2019.

The general manager said MediaTek plans to make its 5G modem available to manufacturers at the end of 2019, and expects the first phones with the new modem to land in the second half of 2020. MediaTek will initially focus on the Chinese market for 5G devices before setting its eyes on the U.S. and Europe, the executive noted.

This news means MediaTek won’t beat rivals to the 5G punch. HUAWEI and Qualcomm have both confirmed plans to launch 5G-enabled devices in 2019. In fact, Qualcomm claimed earlier this year that at least 18 OEMs will use its 5G modem in 2019.

Lee acknowledged that 5G phones will see an increase in power consumption. So how will the company prepare for this uptick in battery usage over 4G devices?

What is 5G, and what can we expect from it?
Red 5G logo

“MediaTek’s 5G advantage is that we can minimize the PCB [printed circuit board] area for the phone makers and allow them to maximize the space for the battery,” Lee said. He added that customers say this was the “most significant difference” between MediaTek’s 5G platform and rival solutions.

The general manager also revealed MediaTek will keep the P series naming convention for its 4G chipsets, but would “probably have a new family name” for 5G chipsets.

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