Intel and MediaTek team up to develop 5G modems for laptops

Written by Jennifer Allen

November 26, 2019 | 09:00

Tags: #5g #modems #networking

Companies: #intel #mediatek

Intel and MediaTek has announced plans to team up together to provide 5G on laptops and desktops from early 2021. 

The plan is to supply future Intel-powered PCs and laptops with 5G modems from the start of 2021. Dell and HP have both been named by MediaTek as the most likely first customers for 5G-enabled, Intel-powered laptops. 

It comes a few months after Intel agreed to sell its modem business to Apple for $1 billion. Because of that, MediaTek will be responsible for development and manufacturing of the 5G modems, while Intel works on the necessary hardware and software specifications involved. 

Intel has also announced that Fibocom will be manufacturing M.2 versions of its 5G modems, which will be optimised for Intel's own Core processors. 

"With this partnership, consumers will be able to browse, stream and game faster on their PCs, but we also expect them to innovate with 5G in ways we have not yet imagined," said MediaTek president Joe Chen.

The news doesn't come as a huge surprise given Intel's recent formation of a new business group focused on networking,  nor the fact that 5G looks likely to revolutionise internet speeds, but this still marks an important step in the growth of 5G and the potential for faster and more flexible internet speeds. 

There's also the matter of Intel pushing 5G at CES 2019 as part of its innovation program, Project Athena

Granted, 2021 isn't particularly soon but that plays in Intel's favour. There still needs to be more widespread 5G coverage and more widespread use of the service. The UK, for instance, only has around 50 locations with 5G coverage and some of those are relatively small areas. 5G clearly has the potential to change a lot, especially when it comes to streaming games more readily, but its popularity needs to grow for it to achieve that. Intel also needs to chip away at the inroads formed by Qualcomm who are also on the case and have a slight advantage given the use of their modem chips for LTE connectivity in systems such as the Surface Pro X. 

Still, regardless of who 'wins' this battle, the future is looking bright for such technology and we suspect 5G could become a big player when it comes to providing faster and more reliable speeds. The more support from manufacturers, the better. 

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