MediaTek has presented the M80 — first its own 5G modem suitable for mmWave.
Previously, the company’s modems were limited to the sub-6 GHz spectrum. With the new M80, MediaTek competes with providers like Qualcomm and Samsung and is positioning itself significantly better on the market as a supplier.
According to MediaTek, the M80 manages up to 7.67 GBit/s in the downstream and up to 3.76 GBit/s in the upstream. It supports stand-alone (SA) and non-stand-alone operation (NSA) as well as telephoning via 5G, i.e., Voice over New Radio (VoNR). The M80 can also handle dual SIM, which is interesting for smartphones and laptops.
In Australia, China, India, Latin America and, Southeast Asia, the focus in 5G expansion has so far been primarily on the sub-6 GHz spectrum, but 5G is currently being promoted there with mmWave frequencies. MediaTek’s M80 modem comes at the right time for these markets.
The M80 is a dedicated modem and is therefore not combined in an SoC with an Application Processor (AP). This shows that MediaTek is not yet as advanced as Qualcomm with the Snapdragon 888 or Samsung with the Exynos 2100 when it comes to integration, but it is an important first step for the company.
Current systems-on-a-chip from MediaTek that integrates a 5G baseband are the Dimensity 1200/1100. They use the sub-6 GHz spectrum and manage up to 4.7 Gbit/s in the downstream and up to there to 2.5 Gbit/s in the upstream. 5G telephony (VoNR, Voice over New Radio) and 5G dual SIM support are also provided.
The first samples of the M80 are to be delivered to partners later this year. MediaTek was the manufacturer that sold the most smartphone chips in the third quarter of 2020. In Q3/2020, sales rose by a whopping 46 percent compared to the previous year, while profits almost doubled by 93 percent.