16 February 2021
MediaTek has officially launched a new 5G modem named M80. It is a direct successor to last year's M70 and brings significant improvements. It is the first-ever 5G modem from MediaTek with support for millimeter-wave aka mmWave network. It will be competing with Qualcomm's 5G modem offerings that have been ruling the 5G smartphone market.
The MediaTek M80 5G modem supports both Sub-6 GHz and mmWave 5G networks. It will deliver high-speed internet connectivity through both Non-Standalone (NSA) and Stand-alone (SA) architectures. The highest achievable download and upload speed is claimed to be 7.67 Gbps and 3.76 Gbps respectively. It is even higher than Qualcomm and Samsung's 5G modem chips but these are theoretical numbers and would be almost impossible to replicate in real-world scenarios.
Prior to this announcement, Qualcomm and Samsung were the only chipmakers to deliver 5G modems with mmWave support. It will result in smartphone makers as well as users getting more options. It should be noted even though Sub-6 GHz is the most widely used 5G network worldwide, it does not deliver the highest possible 5G data speeds. Those levels of speeds can only be achieved through the mmWave network which requires expensive equipment.
JC Hsu, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of MediaTek's Wireless Communications Business Unit said,
“As 5G rollouts accelerate, mmWave is becoming increasingly important, especially in the U.S. MediaTek’s new 5G modem integrates support for both sub-6 GHz and mmWave networks to address this opportunity and give device makers more flexibility. To advance users’ 5G experiences, the new modem supports the latest global cellular standards and specifications and it packs MediaTek’s signature power savings technologies along with ultra-fast speeds.”
The all-new MediaTek M80 5G chip will become available commercially sometime in the second half of the year. It is unknown what brand will be releasing the first phone but we will keep you updated as and when this information becomes public.