Intel stepped up its mobile 5G effort, unveiling a new multimode modem significantly ahead of schedule as reports state Apple is planning to use the company’s chips in a 5G iPhone.
An Intel representative told Mobile World Live (MWL) customer interest in its 5G modems had heightened, leading it to take the “strategic decision” to take the wraps off the new XMM 8160 six months earlier than planned. The representative said the company aims to deliver “a solution that better matches our customers’ needs for broad scaling with its better power, performance and form factor advantages”.
The chip succeeds Intel’s first 5G modem, the XMM 8060, which it unveiled in November 2017. The XMM 8160 will feature multimode capabilities supporting standalone and non-standalone 5G technology alongside 4G, 3G and 2G. It will cover a range of spectrum bands including frequencies from 600MHz to 6GHz, along with key mmWave bands including 26GHz, 28GHz and 39GHz. Intel said it will deliver peak download speeds of up to 6Gb/s.
Intel hopes to serve a range of devices with the new modem including smartphones, PCs and broadband access gateways. Manufacturers will gain access to the product in the second half of 2019 and it is expected to be used in device launches starting in the first half of 2020.
The news follows a report from US business magazine Fast Company earlier this month that Apple is planning to use an Intel modem in a 5G iPhone set for release in 2020.
Moor Insights and Strategy principal analyst Patrick Moorhead told MWL he believes Intel’s accelerated 5G modem timeline was driven by Apple’s schedule.
In the mobile modem market, Intel faces an uphill battle against rival Qualcomm, which already has commitments from nearly 20 top OEMs to use its Snapdragon X50 product in device launches starting in 2019. But an ongoing spat between Qualcomm and Apple could provide an opportunity for Intel to step in during a key technology transition.
The mobile component supplements work Intel has done to position itself as a 5G leader in other segments, including cloud, core and access networks.
In September, Sandra Rivera, SVP and general manager of the networks platform group at Intel, highlighted work with Ericsson and Nokia on next generation trials as evidence the company is “powering the first wave of 5G networks”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back