MediaTek is unveiling its first 5G modem with support for mmWave

MediaTek Inc, Taiwanese chip designer, on Monday unveiled the M80, the company’s first modem with 5G mmWave support. The millimeter-wave technology is called mmWave, which is used by U.S. carriers such as Verizon Communications Inc.

The M80 is the direct successor to the Helio M70 modem last year and will go head-to-head against the X60 modem of Qualcomm. The Helio M70 was the first 5G modem for the company, but it lacked support for mmWave bands. As it incorporates both mmWave and sub-6GHz on a single chip, the M80 addresses this.

MediaTek is one of the few suppliers of modem chips along with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Qualcomm Inc, that help devices such as smart phones connect to cellular data networks. The company supplies chips to phone manufacturers including Xiaomi Corp and LG Electronics Inc, among others.

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Carrier aggregation (CA) through mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G bands and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing support are other essential aspects of the M80 modem (DSS). Dynamic Spectrum Sharing is a technology that allows networks to run 4G LTE and 5G NR on the same network band concurrently without either 4G or 5G needing to reserve a chunk of spectrum.

The M80 also features Ultrasound Network Environment Detection and Ultrasound Content Awareness technologies from MediaTek, which can change power and operating frequency dynamically based on network conditions.

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Users will first trial the MediaTek M80 in 2021, but don’t plan to launch a consumer product with this new modem anytime soon. Similarly, at this point, the specifics of the MediaTek SoC launch of the new modem remain undisclosed.

To date, however, the 5G chips from MediaTek have only been compatible with the “sub-6” version of 5G networks, which is the variety typically used in countries such as China.

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