Intel strikes move in 5G modem battle - Mobile World Live

Intel strikes move in 5G modem battle

04 JAN 2017

LIVE FROM CES 2017, LAS VEGAS: Intel is attempting to stake an early claim on the 5G chip market by launching a modem designed to enable companies to begin testing ‘pre-standard’ 5G technologies for “automotive, home broadband, mobile devices, and other” uses.

In a blog by Aicha Evans, corporate vice president and general manager for Intel’s Communication and Devices Group, Evans said the 5G Modem will work in both sub 6GHz bands and high-band mmWave spectrum across the US, Europe, Korea and Japan (the regions generally expected to launch 5G first, from 2018).

The modem will begin sampling in the second half of this year.

aicha“5G will enable industries to improve our daily lives,” wrote Evans (pictured). “With 5G, autonomous vehicles will be able to make decisions in milliseconds to keep drivers and vehicles safe. Drones will aid in disaster recovery efforts, providing real-time data for emergency responders. Smart cities will monitor air and water quality through millions of sensors, giving them insights needed to provide a better quality of life.”

Of course, 5G as a technology isn’t expected to be ratified by the 3GPP until at least 2018. But this is a point hinted at by Evans in her blog: “Our goal is to support both early trials and to lay a foundation enabling accelerated development of products that will support the 3GPP NR specification and help drive global adoption of the 3GPP 5G standard.”

For Intel, the move is also clearly designed to help it avoid missing out on mobile’s next big tech generation leap, after failing to be a major player in the 3G and 4G mobile space.

A recent win in the US – where Apple switched to Intel’s modem chips for its iPhone shipments to AT&T as well as some other overseas markets, has been one of only a few high points for the firm in this sector as it competes with rivals such as Qualcomm and MediaTek. Indeed, this week Qualcomm also announced plans to test 5G chip technology with AT&T.

The iPhone order was Intel’s first major mobile chip win from Apple and a significant boost for the company’s mobile chip business, which has racked-up significant losses. In early May last year, following a major restructuring, it said it would drop its SoFIA integrated modem/processor packages – an important component in the battle for smartphone success.

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Justin Springham

Justin manages the editorial content for the Mobile World Live portal and award-winning Mobile World Live TV service. In the last few years Justin has launched and grown a portfolio of premier media products, which include the Mobile World Congress...

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