Huawei is looking to reduce its dependency on American companies following the trade restrictions imposed by the Trump administration last year. The company plans to move away from Qualcomm and is apparently exploring other options. And according to a recent report from DigiTimes, Samsung and MediaTek are both vying to tap that opportunity.
The two companies are hoping to supply Huawei with 5G modems for mid-range and budget 5G smartphones. The Chinese company does make its own 5G chips. However, the expected demand will be high enough for it to seek supplies from third-party chipmakers as well.
Qualcomm, Huawei, Samsung, and MediaTek are the four major companies worldwide currently manufacturing 5G mobile modems.
Samsung and MediaTek are hoping to supply Huawei with 5G modems
2020 is the year of 5G and despite the COVID-19 situation, the 5G market will likely continue to grow throughout the year. Manufacturers have already started making affordable 5G phones, and as the competition grows stronger, the price point will drop further.
Huawei, known for delivering phones at relatively cheaper prices, is expected to be at the forefront in this race.
The company's fully-owned chipmaker HiSilicon recently launched the Kirin 820 mid-range 5G SoC. This chipset integrates the Balong 5000 5G modem, the same modem as the company's flagship Kirin 990 chipset.
Going forward, the company might look for low-cost modems for its mid-range and budget 5G smartphones from a third-party supplier. Since it can't use Qualcomm's 5G chips, Samsung and MediaTek are hoping to supply the Chinese company with their respective solutions.
Samsung currently has two 5G mobile modems on its product catalog, the Exynos Modem 5100 and Exynos Modem 5123. Both of these modems are primarily designed for the high-end smartphone segment, though.
It remains to be seen if the South Korean conglomerate has plans to release a new 5G modem in the future. Or if it plans to supply one of these solutions to Huawei.
MediaTek, on the other hand, entered the 5G mobile SoC game with the high-end Dimensity 1000 chipset last November.
A couple of months later, the Taiwanese chipmaker also introduced its first mid-range 5G chipset, the Dimensity 800. MediaTek claims that the Dimensity 800's 5G modem is more power-efficient than other similar solutions in the market.
If Huawei is indeed looking for a third-party supplier for 5G modems, it'll be interesting to see who it partners with – Samsung, MediaTek, or both. We'll likely get to hear more about it in the coming months, once the developments start taking shape.