Taiwanese semiconductor company MediaTek has unveiled its 5G modem chipset, the Helio M70, at this week's Computex Taipei. The tech firm will officially ship its 5G modem offering starting in 2019 and it is based on the 3GPP Release 15 standard which is non-standalone in nature, i.e. can be built on top of existing 4G infrastructure. The modem will automatically connect to 5G frequencies when it is transmitting data, while it will connect to 4G networks when the smartphone is performing other activities. The Helio M70 modem is capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 5Gbps while connected to a 5G network. Moreover, to reduce the power consumption of its modem offering, MediaTek will utilize the 7nm process node technology from TSMC for manufacturing it. Chips produced using smaller process nodes require lower voltages to work, which reduces the overall power consumption and heat production. TSMC's 7nm process node technology also takes advantage of Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.
The company's 5G technologies and modem offerings were developed in cooperation with a number of smartphone manufacturers, network operators, and telecommunications equipment suppliers. Among the companies that MediaTek collaborated with in the development of its 5G modem are Nokia, China Mobile, Huawei, and NTT Docomo. These partnerships allowed the Taiwanese tech firm to contribute to the standardization of the 5G network technologies and test and modify its modem before it is incorporated into smartphones and other mobile devices. MediaTek released its 5G modem offering six months ahead of the original schedule in an effort to gain presence and market share in the 5G market. The company also said that it will increase the production of its 5G modems between 2020 and 2022.
Aside from MediaTek, Qualcomm has also recently unveiled its 5G modem offering for smartphones, called the Snapdragon X50 modem. Qualcomm has already announced that at least 19 different smartphone manufacturers have agreed to incorporate the company's 5G modem into their handsets meant to be released in 2019. Other companies that are also involved in the development of the 5G standard are Huawei, Samsung, and Nokia, as well as a number of wireless carriers.