[News] MediaTek Lands Significant WiFi 7 Deals, Disrupting Broadcom’s Long-standing Dominance

2023-12-13 Consumer Electronics editor

According to a news report from Economy Daily News, Taiwanese IC design company MediaTek is benefiting from a rebound of the smartphone market, with shipments of its Dimensity series 5G smartphone chips gaining momentum. Simultaneously, there is positive news of a potential surge in the demand for WiFi products next year.

MediaTek has secured major contracts for WiFi 7 with leading global tablet brands, Intel’s laptop platforms, and various prominent smartphone manufacturers, breaking Broadcom’s long-standing dominance in the WiFi chip market.

Industry sources suggest that MediaTek is expected to further expand its reach next year by securing orders from Chinese smartphone brands, Intel’s laptop platforms, and the primary WiFi 7 chip orders from the leading global tablet brand from the US.

With shipment momentum entering a quarterly ascending stage, MediaTek is poised to break the past trend of Broadcom’s long-term dominance in the WiFi chip market. Additionally, MediaTek is gaining ground on its competitor Qualcomm, positioning itself as one of the top three global suppliers in the WiFi chip market.

MediaTek has refrained from commenting on customer specifics and order status. However, market expectations are high for a significant boom in WiFi 7 opportunities next year, and MediaTek is anticipated to benefit from this surge.

According to industry analysis, WiFi 7 boasts faster transmission speeds and additional frequency bands. Its theoretical speed is 4.8 times faster than the preceding WiFi 6 standard and 13 times faster than WiFi 5. The industry widely anticipates WiFi 7 to become the mainstream network transmission standard next year.

In the current PC market scenario, major PC suppliers such as Intel and AMD are almost certain to extensively support WiFi 7 next year. In the smartphone market, there are reports that Apple and Samsung are expected to incorporate WiFi 7 specifications in their new models next year, further propelling the explosion of WiFi 7 opportunities in the coming year.

In the past, MediaTek made relatively slow progress in the WiFi market, but it accelerated its efforts upon entering the WiFi 6 era. With ambitions to outpace competitors in WiFi 7, MediaTek reportedly expanded its R&D team, deploying a thousand personnel to delve into the WiFi 7 market.

In early 2022, MediaTek took an early lead by launching its WiFi 7 product line, entering the ‘design-in’ phase with clients. In the second quarter of 2023, reports suggest MediaTek is gradually making inroads into the high-end router and enterprise-related applications. These recent developments indicate positive strides for the company.

Industry analysts have emphasized that WiFi has become an essential network feature in current terminal devices. However, due to the need for integration supporting multiple frequency band specifications in network chips like WiFi and Bluetooth, the crucial point in verifying product usability lies in complying with frequency bands specified by various countries.

Since different countries use different frequency bands, a significant amount of manpower is required in the testing and verification stages. The development challenges associated with these chips are second only to modem chips.

Even Apple has reportedly delayed its in-house WiFi chip development due to a shortage of manpower. Instead, Apple has shifted its focus to procuring WiFi chips from other IC design companies. This opens up opportunities for Broadcom, Qualcomm, and MediaTek to secure significant orders for WiFi chips in Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.

Reportedly, an insider has indicated that MediaTek’s WiFi 7 chips will be produced using TSMC’s 6nm process. It is anticipated that the wafer input for these chips will ramp up in the first half of 2024 as MediaTek will be gearing up to seize new opportunities in the latter half of that year when consumer devices will have widely adopted WiFi 7.

(Photo credit: MediaTek)

Please note that this article cites information from Economy Daily News.