We are still in the early days of 5G, but if you take a quick look around the smartphone world, it is clear Qualcomm has got a start in comparison with other chipmakers. Almost every 5G phone on the market today is powered by a Qualcomm modem, and while Qualcomm was recently infected to violate antitrust laws, MediaTek could finally deliver a pleasurable competition in the 5G room with its next high-end mobile chip.
Although the chip itself does not have an official name, MediaTek claims that its upcoming SoC (system-on-a-chip AKA processor) is "the world's first fully integrated 7 nanometer 5G SoC" and with it, the company hopes to bring the price of future 5G smartphones and mobile devices down. It's an alluring idea, because anyone who has looked at the starting price of phones like the $ 1
And when it comes to 5G performance, MediaTek boasts that its chip can hit sustained download speeds of 4.2 Gbps and upload speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps. However, there is an important warning about the MediaTek's chip, as its integrated modem only supports 5G on the sub-6GHz and 2.5GHz bands. For carriers such as AT&T and especially Verizon (which uses only the mmWave frequencies on the 5G network), MediaTek & # 39; s chip is not really an option because 5G modems and their antennas often need to be set to deliver optimum data rates a specific set of radio frequencies.
But that may be good because there are a few other operators planning to use either the sub-6GHz or the 2.5-GHz spectrum when turning on their 5G networks later this year: T-Mobile and Sprint . This puts MediaTek in a good position to compete with Qualcomm when it comes to delivering 5G chips to future T-Mobile and Sprint phones, especially if T-Mobile and Sprint's scheduled merger is approved. But in the end it will eventually fall on the phone manufacturers instead of end-users to choose which chip best suits their devices. In any case, there is a choice.
No matter where only a handful of chipmakers around the world have the ability to make 5G-clear chips and SoCs themselves, it is great to know that there may soon be an alternative to all Qualcomm powered 5G phones. That said, it is relatively relative soon, although MediaTek does not expect any consumer-ready units with its new 5G Soc to be available until Q1 2020.