MediaTek Analyst Day 2024: MediaTek’s Diversification Is On Track

By Anshel Sag, Patrick Moorhead - May 22, 2024
Sameer Sharma, general manager of IoT and edge AI at MediaTek, presents at MediaTek Analyst Day 2024
Anshel Sag

Last week in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona MediaTek held its 2024 MediaTek Analyst Day, where the company provided deeper insights into its strategy and business plans. As usual, the event closely followed MediaTek’s Q1 earnings release, which saw significant improvements in revenue, gross margin and operating margins. Much of the day was spent looking into MediaTek’s growing momentum and its vision of the new markets it wants to expand further into. Let’s dig into the different segments that MediaTek covered throughout the day.

Mobile

MediaTek marketing chief Finbarr Moynihan delivered the update for platforms and mobile, which is still MediaTek’s core business but also its most cyclical—tied to the ups and downs of the mobile industry. For the full year 2023, 52% of MediaTek’s business came from chips for mobile phones, while 41% was in what it calls Smart Edge Platforms, and the remaining 7% came from its Power IC business. MediaTek’s flagship Dimensity 9000 series revenue was up 70% year-over-year to more than $1 billion, a significant increase and a significant share of the overall $7.3 billion in revenue from MediaTek’s mobile division. This is important because in previous years MediaTek had struggled to get traction with its flagship products in the 9000 series. Its 2023 success came thanks to major design wins for the Dimensity 9200, 9200+, and 9300 with big mobile OEMs Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi and Redmi, which are very popular in Asia.

MediaTek hopes to continue the momentum in 2024 with its Dimensity 9300+, which it announced on May 7, and the Dimensity 9400, due out later this year. The Dimensity 9300+ is a minor upgrade over the 9300 that MediaTek announced late last year, with a 5% improvement to the fastest CPU core frequency, resulting in a 2.5% increase in single-core performance in Geekbench testing. It uses the same process node as the Dimensity 9300, making it a better production stepping for the same chip. On the AI front, MediaTek also claims that the Dimensity 9300+ has 10% faster 7B LLM performance, delivering 22 tokens per second. Overall, MediaTek has gained significant flagship momentum, and if my experience with the Dimensity 9300 on the Vivo X100 Pro is any indication, it has lots of room for growth. I do wish the company would finally abandon using the term APU (which stands for “AI processing unit”) for its neural processor and accept the industry-standard NPU.

Connectivity

MediaTek has many connectivity products and has recently reorganized them around the corresponding broadband technologies. Its fiber platform solutions support fiber speeds of up to 10 Gbps today, with support for 25 Gbps projected by 2026 and 50 Gbps sometime after that. MediaTek senior vice president of connectivity James Chen talked about how the company’s fiber platform has already shipped 700 million units to more than 80 network operators worldwide. While MediaTek hasn’t disclosed all of its customers yet, it has already claimed customer wins for 10 Gigabit fiber with Lumen’s Quantum Fiber and Brightspeed, both with Wi-Fi 7 tri-band solutions. MediaTek has also mentioned Tier-1 operators in Spain, Germany and South Korea as partners. In the 25 Gig and 50 Gig space, MediaTek is already engaging with industry leaders including Nokia, Ciena and Adtran. With the developed world moving more towards fiber for fixed broadband and with speeds ever increasing, having such a business should help MediaTek grow consistently year over year with reliable revenue and profit margins that can help to offset the cyclical nature of the mobile phone business.

MediaTek’s James Chen discussing the state of connectivity at MediaTek Analyst Day 2024
Anshel Sag

A significant portion of MediaTek’s connectivity business comes from its 5G fixed wireless access solutions, which reflect the growth of FWA as one of the best applications of 5G. MediaTek’s first-generation solution was powered by its T750 RFSoC and allowed the company to deliver design wins with T-Mobile, Verizon, EE and BT, Swisscom, Deutsche Telekom, Three, Telefonica and KDDI. This solution was aimed at consumer home 5G internet with 3GPP Rel. 15 and 4.6 Gbps of max theoretical 5G throughput over Wi-Fi 6. The company’s second-generation solution leverages the new T830 RFSoC with Rel. 16, 7 Gbps max throughput and Wi-Fi 7; it is aimed at both consumer and enterprise uses.

This second-generation 5G FWA solution is shipping throughput this year globally with many different operators. MediaTek recently announced customer design wins with AT&T and Verizon with Wi-Fi 7 solutions. MediaTek has also powered older generations of T-Mobile’s FWA solutions and will likely power T-Mobile’s upgraded 5G FWA with Wi-Fi 7, whenever it ships. MediaTek also teased its third-generation solution, which it calls “ubiquitous wireless broadband,” which will be built towards the 3GPP Rel. 17/18 spec and have Wi-Fi 7/8 support. This is more of a forward-looking solution that isn’t fully defined yet, but MediaTek is very ambitious about the future of 5G FWA.

MediaTek is so ambitious about its 5G FWA offerings that it went ahead and compared them against the competition, showing superior uplink speeds and demonstrating its ability to interoperate at high speeds with Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson equipment. MediaTek also showed improved uplink performance with its low latency and low loss scalable throughput technology. Compared to an unnamed competitor’s solution, MediaTek’s T830 demonstrated lower round-trip times, lower frame losses and higher frames per second over video. These uplink improvements are important because uplink performance determines coverage and, in most cases, total power consumption and radiation.

Wi-Fi 7 is another area where MediaTek sees significant opportunities. In fact, it says that Wi-Fi 7 could make up as much as 25% of its business in home gateways and routers by 2025. This is up from only 2% last year and what it expects to be 13% this year, which I believe to be a conservative estimate. MediaTek’s Wi-Fi 7 solutions can be found on all of its flagship smartphone platforms, such as the Dimensity 9200 and 9300 series. Additionally, its Filogic 360 and 380 chipsets are expected to launch in devices in 2025, helping to serve the mainstream and premium segments of the market. MediaTek’s dominant position in the TV scaler business will also enable it to ship Wi-Fi 7 in 8K TVs in the second half of this year.

MediaTek also called out its competitors’ commercial router solutions, making direct comparisons to their Wi-Fi 7 MLO implementations for backhaul between the router and an extender. MediaTek’s testing found no commercial shipping devices using Broadcom that support MLO functionality, and it found that TP-Link’s Qualcomm-based solution did not support MLO with three bands.

MediaTek’s comparison of Wi-Fi access point backhaul capabilities against competitors
MediaTek

MediaTek’s performance comparisons didn’t end there, because it also compared itself head-to-head against Qualcomm’s and Broadcom’s Wi-Fi 7 client chips for smartphones. MediaTek even used a Qualcomm access point as the test platform; MediaTek claimed 30% higher performance than Qualcomm and 15% higher performance than Broadcom. I have personally found that OnePlus’s implementation of Qualcomm’s Wi-Fi solutions has been slower than Samsung’s on my own Wi-Fi network, so I have a feeling there might have been a bit of cherry-picking here by MediaTek. More third-party testing and validation may be necessary to verify these claims.

MediaTek’s detailed claims of being faster than Qualcomm and Broadcom in Wi-Fi solutions
MediaTek

Looking to the future, MediaTek’s vision for connectivity is heavily influenced by the growth of AI and processing more workloads locally with on-device AI. Many “smart” devices today have limited on-device computing. That makes them heavily dependent on the cloud for intelligence. MediaTek’s vision is to reduce latency and cloud costs by using the home gateway to empower more local AI computing in the home. MediaTek sees this as a transition from convolutional neural networks to AI transformers for IoT solutions, with the complexity and number of parameters increasing as generative AI adoption increases—and with all of this driving demand for more AI compute at the edge. This added intelligence at the edge can also be harnessed for home networking purposes, enabling a smarter, more personalized connectivity experience for every user. Ultimately, this is a way for MediaTek to drive customers towards higher-ASP chips with more capabilities, improving its revenue and margins along the way.

It’s also worth pointing out that Wi-Fi represents an opportunity for MediaTek to move beyond its consumer success into the enterprise. Enterprise is a high bar, given the need for higher levels of security, reliability and device support. MediaTek has the chops to compete with Qualcomm and Broadcom on this front. Although the company did not disclose any specific design wins with infrastructure providers, it did share that these development opportunities are progressing. If MediaTek is successful in this endeavor, it represents significant incremental revenue upside for the company over the long term.

Satellite Connectivity

Mediatek assistant general manager Cliff Lin provided a comprehensive update on the company’s view of the Satellite connectivity market. MediaTek fundamentally sees satellite as a way to close the coverage gaps in cellular networks. Its vision heavily depends on 3GPP’s NB-NTN and NR-NTN standards in Rel. 17 and encompasses the entire world—including China, which has its own initiatives and market landscape. (While it is easy to get lost in the acronyms of telecom standards, the most important thing to remember in this context is that NTN stands for “non-terrestrial networks,” i.e. satellite networks.) MediaTek believes that smartphones will have NR-NTN capability as soon as 2027; we believe that this will be when satellite connectivity becomes far more ubiquitous and standardized.

MediaTek’s timeline for satellite connectivity and the competition around it
MediaTek

MediaTek divides the satellite market into four types of technologies: 3GPP NTN, Direct to Cell, Proprietary and Other. The company explained how it thinks about the evolution of satellite communications through the 3GPP standards, with each release adding new features. MediaTek believes that NTN will become more of an intrinsic satellite feature rather than an add-on satellite feature by the time 6G rolls around. My view is that proprietary solutions are merely a way to get to market quickly, and that eventually anyone who wants to survive will have to transition to NTN if they want to coexist with 5G. Even Qualcomm has said that its future approach will also be NTN-based after failing with Snapdragon Satellite.

MediaTek expects 6G to optimize NTN efficiency with new waveform, mobility and spectrum sharing. MediaTek expects NR-NTN to deliver 100-plus Mbps speeds using 50 megahertz of bandwidth, something it demoed at MWC 2024. MediaTek has a lot of “world’s first” claims in the satellite realm, but I believe that the company’s milestones and vision are enough to claim leadership legitimately. MediaTek deserves to be doing victory laps given its vision and strategic long-term thinking in the satellite industry.

RedCap Recap

MediaTek assistant vice president of sales and business development Mark Odani updated analysts on the company’s RedCap product lineup. RedCap is short for “reduced capacity” in 5G, which enables lower-power implementations than traditional 5G but with limited performance. Right up front, Odani presented MediaTek’s unique value proposition with its efficient 5GNR modem, optimized for smaller PCB designs, longevity commitments and testing and verification on global carriers. MediaTek’s RedCap solution is the T300; at its core, it relies on the M60 RedCap modem which I wrote about when it was announced last November. The T300 is an RFSoC built using TSMC’s 6nm process that combines the modem with the RF sub-system to deliver a compact and efficient solution.

MediaTek sees many applications for the T300, including video security, logistics IoT edge devices, wearables, industrial, CPE and more. MediaTek claims that the T300 has 60% lower power consumption versus 4G IoT solutions and 70% lower power than 5G EMBB solutions using non-IoT modems. MediaTek also claims a 60% smaller core chipset PCB area versus 4G IoT solutions, leading to both lower power consumption and a smaller board area, which is ideal for IoT applications. Because this is a RedCap solution, the peak download speed is only 227 Mbps and the peak upload is 122 Mbps, which is good enough for most IoT applications. One caveat of RedCap is that it requires a proper standalone 5G network, also known as 5G SA, meaning that it will only work on networks and operators with 5G SA deployed. This is currently a problem because most 5G operators are still operating less-advanced non-standalone networks, which will not enable RedCap. That said, MediaTek already has a lot of momentum with operators such as AT&T, Singtel, SK Telecom, Verizon and Optus around the world and has adoption timelines that start this year going into 2025.

Internet Of Things

MediaTek continues to invest in its IoT platforms, offering OEMs chipsets that support consumer, enterprise and industrial device designs. IoT has traditionally been a tough segment to monetize, given the need for low-cost solutions that can scale massively. What is important to note is that MediaTek leans into a silicon reuse strategy that aims to lower development costs. It also complements its IoT efforts with a unified platform of SDKs and APIs that ease integration. With that said, the company does not compromise on the performance front, offering power efficiency, AI-enhanced multimedia and high levels of security.

The company’s Genio family of IoT platforms supports a range of configurations, offering multiple Arm cores in CPU and GPU tiers. MediaTek also offers a long lifecycle for its IoT chipsets, guaranteeing OEMs and ODMs 10 years of longevity. The company invests heavily in its partner ecosystem, offering evaluation kits that make designing IoT solutions around its silicon easy. It all adds up to a serious IoT platform, one that is well positioned to add what the company believes will be $2 billion in incremental revenue to MediaTek’s top line.

Wrapping Up

MediaTek already has a diversified business, given its long history in TVs and IoT. Now its mobile segment is thriving again, and its connectivity businesses are growing as well. MediaTek is building on its success in consumer 5G FWA for the enterprise and is doing the same with its Wi-Fi 7 solutions. The company is also finding early successes in new technologies for consumers and pivoting them into the enterprise where applicable.

Its enterprise IoT business under the Genio brand will likely still take some time to grow, as will its automotive business, which it has tied closely with Nvidia for AI, software and ADAS. While I’m not in love with the Dimensity Auto branding, MediaTek is slowly building dependable sub-brands for each business line. Satellite connectivity is also a longer-term play, but MediaTek has demonstrated leadership there as well, shipping a commercially available solution and staying on the path toward deploying NR-NTN.

All in all, MediaTek put together an informative analyst day, although I believe it could have had more depth in IoT and enterprise ASICs. That said, those areas are also the most customer-sensitive and we will likely have to wait until customers launch to get more details from MediaTek. MediaTek is making many strides to transform itself into both a consumer and enterprise company; in many ways, it is already succeeding; in others, it is still very much a work in progress.

Moor Insights & Strategy vice president and principal analyst Will Townsend also contributed to this article.

Anshel Sag
VP & Principal Analyst| Website| + posts

Anshel Sag is Moor Insights & Strategy’s in-house millennial with over 15 years of experience in the IT industry. Anshel has had extensive experience working with consumers and enterprises while interfacing with both B2B and B2C relationships, gaining empathy and understanding of what users really want. Some of his earliest experience goes back as far as his childhood when he started PC gaming at the ripe of old age of 5 while building his first PC at 11 and learning his first programming languages at 13.

Patrick Moorhead
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.