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Apple decision on MediaTek modem chips unlikely soon, say sources
Source: DIGITIMES   Editor: Helan   Update Time :2018/7/3 16:06:41

It remains to be seen whether Apple will commit to buying modem chips from MediaTek for its next-generation iPhone devices despite mounting speculations that the US vendor is considering alternatives from the Taiwan chip supplier in order to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm, according to supply chain sources in Taiwan.

Apple would not make a final decision until the two companies - if they have been indeed in talks over modem chip supply - could reach a consensus on a number of aspects including product roadmap, technology development and collaborative efforts, said the sources.

The latest speculation came from Bloomberg, which reported recently that MediaTek might become the second source to Qualcomm at Apple for modems, displacing Intel, citing Gus Richard, an analyst at Northland Capital Markets.

MediaTek, which unveiled its 5G modem chipset, the Helio M70, at Computex Taipei 2018 in early June, has claimed that its 5G modem is being developed and built based on the 3GPP standards.

The Helio M70 modem is capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 5Gbps while connected to a 5G network. Moreover, the Helio M70 will be built using a 7nm process node at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) so as to reduce the power consumption.

MediaTek released its 5G modem six months ahead of the original schedule, indicating that it aims to enhance its presence in the 5G market with an ultimate goal of winning orders from Apple, said the sources. MediaTek has also said that it will officially ship its 5G modem chips starting in 2019.

In fact, MediaTek has set up an independent ASIC business unit in addition to its mobile device, smart home and IoT chipset businesses, as it is gearing up efforts to develop customized chips for individual clients, the sources noted.

And prior to finalizing the 5G modem orders, MediaTek is likely to secure customized Wi-Fi chip orders from Apple for its HomePod devices, indicated the sources.

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