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Qualcomm & MediaTek limit production of 4G chips

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3

This year is likely to see more 5G-enabled smartphones sold than models that support up to 4G networks for the first time. One of the reasons for this is that chip makers Qualcomm and MediaTek want to ship fewer and fewer processors without a 5G modem.

According to a report by the Taiwan Industry Service DigiTimes the two largest smartphone platform manufacturers have begun to reduce the share of only 4G-enabled processors. Both the leading provider in terms of quantities, MediaTek, and the main competitor, Qualcomm, will therefore supply fewer and fewer chips for devices without 5G support.

Filling the gap

MediaTek has been transitioning for a few months now, devoting more staff and resources to 5G-enabled chips for use in smartphones and other devices. Qualcomm is currently on a similar path, which is why about 10 percent fewer 4G-enabled SoCs will ship in Q1.

According to the report, MediaTek is increasingly focusing on high-end variants of its 4G-only processors but expects the number of units to decline more slowly. For now, Chinese supplier UniSoC Technologies should absorb some of the dwindling volumes of Qualcomm and MediaTek 4G SoCs and claim a greater market share in this space. For 2022 as a whole, market observers expect around 700 million 5G smartphones to be delivered.

This would correspond to about 50 to 60 percent of all devices so the focus should be on 5G models for the first time this year. Device manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Transsion continue to try to serve the markets in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa with their 4G devices. In general, industry sources assume that the number of 4G-enabled smartphones will remain high so that the loss of chips from Qualcomm and MediaTek could even lead to bottlenecks in their availability. The focus of the market is therefore only slowly shifting towards 5G-enabled models.