Intel may launch 4G, 5G capable chipset for 3.5 Ghz frequency range

The US-based processor giant Intel Corporation is planning to unveil a new fourth-generation (4G) and fifth-generation (5G) technology-based System on Chip (SoC) for the device ecosystem in the 3300-3600 Mhz frequency band in India, according to a highly-placed industry source.

In August this year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has suggested a mega airwaves sale across eight bands including frequencies in the 3300-3600 Mhz band, used for fifth-generation or 5G services which the Narendra Modi-led government is eyeing in tandem with matured markets worldwide.

“After Qualcomm, Intel will also be showcasing devices on the 3.5Ghz spectrum band soon to propel device ecosystem,” a person familiar with the matter said, adding that both 4G and 5G services could be simultaneously launched on the newer radio waves.

Rival Qualcomm has recently demonstrated a prototype of a 4G-and-5G capable smartphone that can work on the airwaves in the 3300-3600 MHz range with embedded SIM capability.

Steven Mollenkopf-headed company has also entered into strategic alliance with as many as 19 device vendors worldwide for 4G-and-5G-capable smartphone production.

“Currently we have no further information to share related to the rollout of 5G in specific countries,” Intel in a statement to ETTelecom said.

The Silicon Valley company has already said that it had made substantial advances in its wireless product roadmap to fast-track 5G adoption with the 5G new radio (5G NR) multi-mode commercial modems and new LTE modem.

However, the Santa Clara-based processor and chip major is also working closely with iPhone maker Apple Inc., as the latter plans to use Intel’s 8161 5G modem chip for smartphones poised to hit stores in 2020.

Currently, Intel is supplying LTE modems to Apple to support core iPhone product lineup, following which the company’s modem business witnessed a considerable surge.

With the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) aggressively seeking 5G rollouts by 2020 in the country, telcos such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea are partnering with gear makers— Huawei, Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia— to showcase India-centric use cases by early 2019, thereby making 5G device availability imperative.

Chinese smartphone vendors such as Xiaomi, OnePlus, Huawei, Vivo, Oppo and Korean handset maker Samsung have already revealed their 5G smartphone launch plans with availability in India by late 2019 or early 2020.

Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research said that 5G smartphones would likely to make their way faster in India as compared to any previous generation of phones, and added that the 5G airwaves allocation would be crucial.