MediaTek 5G chip endeavors on the mmWave-compatible front have hit a snag and will be delayed by up to a year. That's according to new reports out of China, which don't detail the reasons behind the delay.
The Taiwanese chipset manufacturer had been estimated to ship as many as 80-million 5G chips in 2020. And a good portion of those was reportedly expected to deliver mmWave 5G to consumers. While 5G chips are still coming from the company, that technology underpins much faster variants of those networks. For instance, Verizon's gig-speed 5G networks are built on mmWave 5G.
The MediaTek mmWave 5G chips were initially expected in the second half of 2020 but, since being delayed, that's altered drastically. It could push mass production back to the same timeframe for 2020 if reports are accurate.
MediaTek isn't the only company seeing delays
The delay for MediaTek isn't entirely unexpected and shouldn't be too impactful. At least not with the current state of the technology market as a whole. Most manufacturers across the board, both in and outside of the 5G chip market are seeing similar delays. And, in some cases, serious disruptions to plans related to that.
Samsung, for instance, failed to even present a threat to TSMC in the space in Q2 2020. It had planned to perform much better for the quarter, potentially rivaling the company's position.
Disruptions in the chip industry have largely been caused by supply chain disruptions from ongoing global health issues. And that seems likely to be the case with MediaTek too.
Where does this leave MediaTek in the 5G mmWave race?
In terms of competition, the delay leaves MediaTek and its customers out of the running on 5G mmWave implementations. But it doesn't change its position in the market much from where it currently stands. The company will still be able to produce 5G chips.
They just won't offer the fastest network speeds — performing more closely to 4G LTE advanced chips. And those chips will still offer better latency and coverage regardless.
That means the biggest difference will be felt on the end-consumer front. 5G chips are more expensive than prior iterations, leading to more expensive chips. MediaTek is among the larger competitors to offer budget-friendly chips. So, for the time being, not many mid-range or affordable smartphones will be able to take advantage of the faster networks.