In April of this year, Intel cancelled its 5G-modem building plans. This week, it’s announcing that they’re back on the table—but this time, with system-on-chip vendor MediaTek building the hardware.
The partnership has Intel setting the 5G specifications, MediaTek developing the modem to match, and Intel optimizing and validating it afterwards. Intel will also lend its marketing and integration muscle to convince OEMs to use the new hardware and help them make sure it works well in final products. This also means Intel will be writing operating-system-level drivers for the modems.
The partnership looks like a sensible one for both parties: Intel has been struggling to get its own 10nm hardware out the door on time, so getting this hardware design task off its plate may relieve some pressure there, while still keeping the company in an emerging market. MediaTek, on the other hand, can definitely benefit from Intel’s software development expertise and deep integration with OEM vendors in the PC space.