In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Rami Osman, director for corporate sales and marketing, MediaTek Middle East and Africa, shares the company’s latest information and offerings on the next generation of connectivity.
What are MediaTek’s latest technology offerings for the MEA region?
In the MEA region, MediaTek offers chipsets, from flagship to entry-level smartphones. The recently launched MediaTek Dimensity 9200+ brings a new array of cutting-edge features for next-gen flagship 5G smartphones that boast better image capture, superior gaming performance, optimal power consumption and the latest display enhancements. The latest collaborations in the MEA region include Xiaomi 12 Pro Dimensity, powered by MediaTek Dimensity 9000+, and the Infinix Note 30 series, powered by MediaTek Dimensity 8050.
Another major offering in MEA is the MediaTek Helio G99, which targets the 4G gaming audience. Built on the highly efficient TSMC N6 (6nm) chip production process, it enables great gaming all day, plus big cameras, fast displays, smooth streaming and reliable global connectivity.
MediaTek has a great focus on wireless connectivity. We made major strides with previous generations of Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, powering the home and enterprise networking and smart device segments. Currently, MediaTek is pioneering Wi-Fi 7 and leading the next generation of connectivity. MediaTek Wi-Fi 7 for home routers is built for the next era of connectivity that will power advanced XR, cloud gaming, 4K HDR/8K streaming and support increasingly connected lifestyles by effectively handling more devices per node than ever before. These products offer always-on connected experiences on various devices across product categories, including residential gateways, mesh routers, televisions, streaming devices, smartphones, tablets, laptops and more. MediaTek has also emerged as the key player in the 5G CPE segment, with key mobile companies using MediaTek T750 and T830. These AI-powered 5G CPE integrated platforms minimize component count, giving product designers the smallest size and the lowest power consumption, enabling ODMs/OEMs with time-to-market advantages.
What are your views on the current state of the 5G rollout in the Middle East, and what opportunities does this present to MediaTek?
The adoption of 5G in the Middle East is expected to drive digital transformation, economic growth, and innovation across industries. Since the introduction of 5G in the UAE in early 2019, it has been propelling the growth of mobile broadband subscribers in the region. As of March 2023, 18 countries in the MEA region are served by commercial 5G services, including eight in the Middle East and ten in Africa. In certain countries like South Africa, where both coverage and the need exist, broadband plans are the priority, and operators’ focus will be on the connectivity use cases for 5G more than smartphones.
MediaTek is collaborating with operators, pushing the boundaries of technology and aiming for the next generation of advancements. Some of the core focus areas in 5G are 5G NR carrier aggregation, both 2NR and 3NR. We have made significant advancements toward 3NR recently with some major collaborations, including those with stc and Nokia in the Middle East and Africa.
MediaTek recently showcased its satellite connectivity for 3GPP NTN technology. How will this strengthen MediaTek's role in NTN?
MediaTek is the proponent and project leader of 3GPP NTN standardization, which supports creating an open NTN ecosystem that benefits the greatest number of people. MediaTek's 3GPP Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) technology enables two-way satellite communication on smartphones, addressing mobile coverage gaps and providing reliable connectivity in remote areas. MediaTek’s portfolio includes both the IoT-NTN and NR-NTN technologies based on the 3GPP 5G specification, with IoT-NTN initially targeting messaging services and NR-NTN supporting higher data rates. Commercialization is expected in 2025 or 2026, with an initial focus on smartphones. Major use cases for satellite connectivity include two-way messaging, location sharing, weather forecasting, push-to-talk service and emergency SOS. For instance, with MediaTek-powered devices that support NTN technology, users can send SMS even when traditional coverage is lost, ensuring continuous communication and reliable connectivity.
MediaTek's role in NTN technology is further strengthened by the recent global launch of the Motorola Defy 2, a rugged 5G smartphone with satellite connectivity powered by MediaTek. The Motorola Defy 2 is an advanced 5G rugged Android smartphone that is fast, responsive and powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 930 chipset along with MediaTek's state-of-the-art NTN (Non-Terrestrial Network) chip. With the integration of MediaTek's NTN technology, the Defy 2 can provide unique, always-on connectivity through the Bullitt Satellite Messenger service.
Additionally, there is a growing demand for satellite connectivity in IoT applications and the automotive industry. Release 17 will play a crucial role for both IoT-NTN and NR-NTN. This advancement will boost data transmission from Kbps to Mbps, unlocking new use cases. With IoT, the use cases expand even further to encompass rural and remote applications such as monitoring power plants, oil & gas pipelines, Smart Cities, farming operations, point-of-sale locations and security solutions, among others.
What are MediaTek's recent collaborations with key telecom players or other associations from the MEA region?
MediaTek is committed to nurturing the growth of the global smart device ecosystem in the MEA region, where substantial potential exists for both 4G and 5G technologies. We collaborate with service providers and OEMs/ODMs to develop and implement cutting-edge chipset solutions that meet the sector's requirements. Some of the noteworthy collaborations include successfully introducing next-generation voice and video calling technologies with Etisalat Misr in the MEA region and pioneering the first 3NR CA for 5G in the GCC region in collaboration with Saudi Telecom. Some prominent collaborations with Smartphone OEMs in the MEA region include Oppo, Vivo, Infinix, Tecno and Xiaomi. In Fintech, MediaTek has collaborated with companies such as the Xiaomi-backed IoT firm Sunmi to deliver MediaTek Artificial Intelligence IoT hardware for restaurants and retail chains. Other major collaborations include the YOCO POS terminals in South Africa in order to provide custom-designed Android-based POS solutions for Africa. For internet access, we have been collaborating with almost all telecom operators in GCC who have been testing and trying our 5G CPE connectivity routers. Regarding strategic government projects, we have collaborated with Telecom Egypt on fixed broadband like DSL and GPON. In the TV industry, we supply technology to Tornado TVs in Egypt (El Araby) and Vestel home appliances in Turkey.