Today Intel has announced they’ve entered a partnership with MediaTek with the goal of “development, certification and support of 5G modem solutions” for next generation PC platforms. The announcement comes 5 months after the announcement that Intel is selling off its own modem and division to Apple for $1B.

The partnership with MediaTek clears up Intel’s plans for the future of connectivity on PC platforms, and how the company is planning to go forward with supporting cellular connectivity in the next generations of devices.

“5G is poised to unleash a new level of computing and connectivity that will transform the way we interact with the world. This partnership with MediaTek brings together industry leaders with deep engineering, system integration and connectivity expertise to deliver 5G experiences on the next generation of the world’s best PCs.”

-- Gregory Bryant, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Client Computing

What is surprising about the announcement isn’t that Intel is partnering with an external supplier, but rather that MediaTek has managed to get the design win, rather than the usual suspects such as Qualcomm or Samsung. Under the deal, Intel is said to “define” the 5G solution specification that will be developed and delivered by MediaTek. The wording of the announcement sounds more akin to a semi-custom deal, rather than just MediaTek providing their own product design or part which was on their roadmap. Depending on the specifications and how it diverges from MediaTek’s existing portfolio, the company’s willingness to enter such a deal with Intel might be a reason they won the contract, as maybe Qualcomm and Samsung wouldn’t be that open to such a collaboration.

While MediaTek will be wholly responsible for the design and manufacturing of the modem, Intel will be working on the platform-side integration as well as OS host driver development. Fibocom will also be cooperating with Intel and MediaTek to develop M.2 modules with the new chipset and integrating them with Intel’s client platforms.  

The first products of the partnership are said to be targeting availability in early 2021.

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  • shabby - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    "5G is poised to unleash a new level of computing and connectivity that will transform the way we interact with the world"
    They forgot the asterisk * only when you're next to a mmWave tower.
  • Eliadbu - Sunday, December 1, 2019 - link

    5G has both mm-Wave and sub 6 GHz implementations, while high throughput will be achieved with mm-Wave under ideal conditions. sub 6 GHz implementation will also achieve higher throughput than 4G, I'm for the option of having cellular modem in PCs, using your phone as a hotspot is not the best solution.
  • yannigr2 - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    Big win for Mediatek.
  • yeeeeman - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    Qualcomm doesn't have any interest to give their modems to Intel since they compete in the PC space. As for Samsung, I guess they were more expensive than Huawei so that is it.
  • yeeeeman - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    Sorry, I have read Huawei instead of mediatek. Hmm, I don't know what to say about mediatek, but in 4g they are quite good.
  • klagermkii - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    Qualcomm charges a percentage of the final device cost as a royalty, which is a nightmare if you stick one of their modems into something expensive like a laptop. This is part of what Apple's complaint about Qualcomm was, as they also sell some pretty expensive phones.
  • nicmonson - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    It only does that for cheaper devices to compete in cheaper phone area (400 and below). All iphones are way above that dollar so what you mention about Apple does not apply. The same would apply to laptops. The comment from yeeeeman sounds more inline with why they chose not to work with each other.
  • webdoctors - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    Will this help with reception? I go to Costco and I get no signal. I'd be happy with 3G if 4G gets me 0Bps
  • shabby - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    Costco and any other retailer should be providing free WiFi if cell reception is that poor inside.
  • rahvin - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    If you are daring enough to use open WiFi like that I hope you're smart enough to be using a VPN and encrypting all traffic across the VPN.

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