Mediatek set to announce a new budget 5G chipset next week

As many mid-range smartphones are moving to 5G connectivity, affordable 5G SoCs are in high demand. With a bunch of existing 5G smartphones powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50/X55 and Huawei’s Kirin, Mediatek also has a couple of 5G offerings like Dimensity 1000/1000L and Dimensity 800. Dimensity 1000L is based on 7 nm fabrication process. Now the company is preparing to launch a new 5G SoC targeted for budget smartphones.

Image Source: Mediatek

Taiwan-based Mediatek has recently confirmed that it will announce a new “All-inclusive 5G” chipset on May 7. This new SoC will be an addition to the company’s Dimensity lineup. While many details about the new announcement are still unknown, there is speculation that this SoC could be aimed at entry-level devices. Also, the flagship Dimensity 2000chip is reportedly in progress.

Recently launched Oppo A92s is the first smartphone powered by Dimensity 800 chip. Also, the upcoming Redmi K30i is expected to be powered by the same chip and bring down the cost of 5G smartphones to around $250. If what Mediatek has hinted turns out to be an entry-level 5G SoC, it will bring down the cost even more.

India’s Airtel signs $1 billion deal with Nokia to gear up for 5G

To enhance its 4G network and lay foundation for 5G services in India, country’s leading operator Bharti Airtel has signed $1 billion multi-year deal with Finnish vendor Nokia. Nokia is currently the largest 4G vendor in Airtel’s 4G network followed by Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE. This deal will help Airtel enable 5G connectivity across nine telecom circles in the country by deploying nearly 300,000 radio units across several spectrum bands including 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz. This process is expected to be completed by 2022.

Airtel will be using Nokia’s SRAN (Single Radio Access Network) solution to manage its 2G and 4G networks from a single platform reducing the network complexity with improved cost efficiency. India’s telecom market is currently experiencing a surge in its mobile data traffic. Nokia’s SRAN will help Airtel address this growing demand by scaling network capacity ensuring superior quality of service for the end-user.

India is currently the second-largest telecom market in the world, which Nokia predicts to have 920 million unique mobile customers by 2025. Out of which, 88 million are projected to be 5G connections. India is yet to conduct its 5G auctions, but it’s good news that telcos are gearing up with vendor contracts.

A conspiracy theory linking 5G technology to coronavirus outbreak

From the past few days, a conspiracy theory is getting viral on the internet that links 5G cellular towers being a reason for the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite any scientific evidence, multiple 5G towers have been vandalized in the UK and Netherlands. European law enforcement and security officials are currently identifying individuals who are targeting the cellular infrastructure. As per some officials, the theory is driven by a coordinated effort by state promoters. These rumors have led to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clearly state that “5G technology does not cause coronavirus”.

A fire-damaged cellular tower in UK. Image courtesy: Darren Staples (Bloomberg)

This theory began with the arrival of 5G technology a couple of years ago. It was being circulated online that 5G is a major health concern for living things. Many videos of birds or small animals dying near towers were being circulated online. As COVID-19 and 5G are phenomenons happening at the same time, the claims of a link between 5G and the infection are being swept across Europe. None of these theories make sense because the virus is spreading in countries without any 5G infrastructure. Also, South Korea is having the technology for one year now, and COVID-19 cases only started to pop-up after the virus was identified in Wuhan.

Some of these theories also suggest that 5G radio waves affect the immune system of the human body and hence the more chance of spreading the disease. But as a matter of fact, 5G radio waves aren’t strong enough to heat the body and weaken the immune system. Much like 2G or 3G, they are non-ionizing and low-frequency radiation. “The idea that 5G lowers your immune system doesn’t stand up to scrutiny,” as explained by Simon Clarke, an associate cellular microbiology professor at the University of Reading. ICNIRP has also updated its guidelines for 5G safety last month after a seven-year study. [5G radiation confirmed safe by ICNIRP]

As there is no scientific evidence of such theories, the idea of COVID-19 caused by 5G cellular towers is complete rubbish, as per the researchers. 5G radio signals are electromagnetic waves, same as the ones used by 2G/3G/4G mobile phones. Electromagnetic waves and viruses are two different things without any sort of correlation to each other. So there is no question of spreading the infection of the disease. Social media companies are taking action on spreading such conspiracy theories linking 5G technology to coronavirus. YouTube has also stated that any content or theory that disputes the existence and transmission of COVID-19 will be a violation of its policies.