Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek, on February 1, 2021, announced the launch of a new 5G modem - it’s first with support for 5G mmWave. The new modem - called the MediaTek M80 - will go up against Qualcomm’s X60 and Samsung’s integrated 5G modem on the Exynos 2100 SoC
As you might have guessed by now, the MediaTek M80 is an upgraded variant of the existing 5G-capable MediaTek M70 modem that was launched last year. While the M70 did feature 5G support, it lacked 5G mmWave support. The M80 not only fixes that issue - but also happens to surpass the Qualcomm in terms of maximum supported download and upload speeds.
At least on paper, the MediaTek M80 happens to be the fastest 5G modem on any SoC yet and supports a maximum theoretical download speed of 7.67Gbps (compared to 7.5 Gbps and 7.35 Gbps on the Qualcomm X60 and the Exynos 2100 respectively). It also outshines the X60 in terms of maximum supported upload speeds with support for 3.67 Gbps upload speeds (compared to 3 Gbps on the Qualcomm X60).
As always, it is important to note that these are theoretical maximum download speeds and you will most probably never hit these peak speeds ever. But hey, this is not bad for a company that has long been the underdog, right?
mmWave support aside, the new model also supports dual 5G SIM, dual 5G NSA and SA networks, as well as dual Voice over New Radio (VoNR) support.
All things said, do note that as of now, MediaTek does not ship an SoC that uses this latest modem. The recently announced MediaTek Dimensity 1100 and 1200 chips still use the M70 modem. It remains to be seen if these chips receive some sort of mid-life upgrade to be retrofitted with the new M80 modem.
Even though MediaTek, for now, can claim to have the fastest 5G modem on an SoC, the important part is that it is yet to arrive on a product yet. That is not the case with either the Snapdragon 888 (which gets the X60 modem) or the Exynos 2100.