People watching the telecommunications market are increasingly thinking when the first smartphones that support mobile networks of the next generation, namely 5G, will appear. In fact, the question is not addressed to manufacturers of mobile devices, but companies that produce and deliver chipsets. Qualcomm, Intel, Samsung and Huawei have already shared their plans. Now MediaTek joins this group, which announced its first chipset with the 5G modem. It will be the Helio M70.
Operators and manufacturers of base stations are preparing for numerous tests of the 5G network, which will start in the second half of this year. They will be carried out using equipment consistent with the 3GPP Release 15 NSA 5G NR published at the end of last year. It defines how the first 5G networks will operate, which will partly benefit from the existing 4G LTE infrastructure. This means that LTE base stations will be used to send signalling data, while user data will be transmitted by 5G NR (New Radio) transmitters. Thanks to this, operators will be able to gradually implement the new technology, at the same time spreading the investment costs into stages.
The 5G modem in MediaTek Helio M70 will download data at 5 Gbps
This means that the Chinese component manufacturer is interested not only in 5G networks operating on frequencies below 6 GHz, but also invests in solutions dedicated for the 28 GHz millimetre band, i.e. mmWave. In this field, the most advanced work is carried out by Samsung, which has already obtained the FCC certificate for the first 5G router. This device will be sold by American operators who want to use the new technology to provide wireless home Internet service that could compete with fiber links. Koreans also have successfully tested 5G mmWave with prototype tablets. Also, Qualcomm demonstrated a working prototype device with the Snapdragon X50 modem.
MediaTek, unlike other manufacturers, decided to focus on providing a dedicated solution for devices with so-called medium price range and budget models. To be able to establish a competitive fight with flagships, which will be equipped with Qualcomm and Samsung chipsets, MediaTek accelerated the work and established cooperation with Nokia, Huawei and operators NTT Docomo and China Mobile. Thanks to this, the Chinese will make sure that their 5G modem is 100% compatible with third-party hardware. Delivery of the MediaTek Helio M70 chipset will start in 2019. This means that the first smartphones with 5G modems will appear in less than a year.