News from Counterpoint reports that MediaTek has surpassed Qualcomm to become the biggest smartphone chipset, vendor. MediaTek beat Qualcomm to became the biggest smartphone chipset vendor with a 31% market share in Q3 2020. Much of this is owed to the fact that the smartphone market rebounded during that time period. MediaTek owes this victory to its performance in the $100-$250 range of smartphones. This is especially true in regions like China and India which helped MediaTek excel.
Qualcomm gets a lot of the limelight when it comes to smartphone chipset news. All of the big-name Android manufacturers use Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets in their flagship devices. With the recent announcement of the Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm increased its presence. Flagship devices get most of the attention in the media.
Now, Qualcomm still was the biggest vendor of 5G chipsets in Q3 2020. During that time 39% of 5G devices sold worldwide were powered by Qualcomm’s 5G chipsets. Now, the demand for 5G devices doubled in the third quarter. 17% of smartphones sold in Q3 were 5G.
MediaTek beat Qualcomm to become the largest chipset vendor
According to MediaTek's Research Director Dale Gai, MediaTek’s market share gain is a result of three reasons. Firstly, is the strong performance in the mid-end segment. That is the $100-$250 price range, and in emerging markets like LATAM and MEA.
Secondly, the US ban on Huawei helped to increase MediaTek’s market share. As a result of the US ban on Huawei, affordable MediaTek chips fabricated by TSMC became the first option for OEMs. Huawei also purchased a large number of chipsets ahead of the ban.
Lastly, the success of big-name OEMs like Samsung, Xiaomi, and Honor. Xiaomi specifically saw its usage of MediaTek chips triple compared to last year. Gai did add that “Qualcomm also posted strong gains in the high-end segment in Q3.” This was thanks to Huawei’s HiSilicon’s supply issues. However, Qualcomm did face increased competition from MediaTek. Specifically in the mid-end segment.
MediaTek continues to compete against Qualcomm in a number of ways. For example, last year they launched a gaming-focused chip series known as the G-series. They also have their Dimenisty chipsets which have helped bring 5G to affordable categories. One example of this would be the Realme V3.
Even though Qualcomm is the big name that many consumers may know of it doesn’t mean there aren’t other options. MediaTek now leads the market, but with offerings from companies like Samsung the smartphone chipset competition seems to be heating up.