MediaTek’s New M80 Modem Packs in Sub-6 and mmWave 5G
MediaTek announced the M80 5G modem, which is the first to combine both Sub-6 and mmWave 5G connectivity technologies. This is important to have a bigger impact on the US in the future. Previously, MediaTek’s M70 modem, included in Dimensity’s mobile processors, only supported Sub-6 networks and was used in the T-Mobile version of the LG Velvet.
The M80 modem can connect to stand-alone (SA) and non-stand-alone (NSA) 5G signals with a maximum of 7.67 Gbit / s download and 3.76 Gbit / s upload. The modem is suitable for 5G-enabled networks around the world, supports dual 5G SIMs and technology, including Dual Voice over New Radio (VoNR), and also connects to 4G LTE Cat-19 networks.
However, the inclusion of mmWave is a key technology to attract manufacturers who sell devices in the United States. Verizon already operates a limited mmWave network. While T-Mobile and AT&T are currently focused on Sub-6, they are investigating mmWave areas in some countries. On the phone side, devices like the iPhone 12 series that support both Sub-6 and mmWave 5G are likely to see more prevalence as the prices of sub-6 and mmWave inclusion and associated network contracts go down.
MediaTek is not the only chip manufacturer with an integrated Sub-6 and mmWave modem. Qualcomm, Huawei, and Samsung make modems that support both technologies, and the US isn’t the only one looking at mmWave either. China, Japan, South Korea and Australia are either experimenting with mmWave 5G networks or launching them on a limited scale. However, as in Europe and the UK, Sub-6 is currently used on most 5G networks.
The announcement of the M80 modem follows the introduction of MediaTek’s newest 5G processor, the Dimensity 1200, which is intended for mid to upper price smartphones. MediaTek is known for offering high quality chips at a reasonable price, and more and more manufacturers are joining the company to drive down the cost of 5G-enabled phones. Combining the M80 with the Dimensity 1200 will keep it competitive, especially in fast growing 5G markets.
According to MediaTek, the M80 modem will be available to its partners later this year. So don’t expect it to be in some piece of hardware that you might be able to buy for a while.