MediaTek finally has a 5G modem alternative to what Qualcomm offers to smartphone makers. Its new Helio M80 modem is the first product from the Taiwanese company to support mmWave high-speed networks, those 5G “standalone” networks that allow the highest transfer speeds. This is good news especially for those who are looking for budget phones, as MediaTek products are generally cheaper.
The Helio H80 is as powerful as Qualcomm’s competing chip
The new Helio H80 modem from the chip manufacturer seems to be a modern one, adapted to the market requirements. With download speeds of up to 7.67 Gbps and uploads of up to 3.76 Gbps, the performance of this modem should be comparable to that offered by market competition, such as Huawei, Qualcomm or Samsung solutions. In comparison, Snapdragon X60 offers speeds of 7.5 Gbps for download and 3 Gbps for upload.
In fact, we are talking about a major upgrade over last year’s Helio H70 modem, which offered 5G only using sub-6GHz (non-standalone) technology, with speeds of 4.7 Gbps download and 2.5 Gbps upload. The new H80 can aggregate up to eight frequencies and allows dual-SIM use of two 5G networks simultaneously.
Unfortunately, it will take some time for this modem to be found in smartphones. MediaTek promises to offer the hardware to developers later in 2021, suggesting that the first phones to use it will appear on the market only at the end of the year or even in 2022.
Currently, devices capable of 5G mmWave connectivity are the most expensive on the market and are sold only in countries where this type of network really exists: USA, China, South Korea, etc. Many of the 5G smartphone models sold in Europe do not include the hardware needed to connect to mmWave networks. Using a MediaTek chipset and a modem like the Helio H80, smartphone makers could offer top-notch connectivity at a more affordable price.