MediaTek Dimensity 5G could finally see global reach soon

Like it or not, Qualcomm is the name of the game when it comes to systems-on-chip (SoCs) in smartphones. Apple's A silicon may surpass it but is only available for iPhones. Samsung's Exynos has been criticized for lagging behind and Huawei's Kirin is now an endangered specie. The closest thing it has to a rival is really MediaTek but the latter's latest 5G-enabled Dimensity chipsets have so far been confined to China. That may finally be changing but it remains to be seen how the chipmaker plans on breaking Qualcomm's hold on the market.

The rivalry between Qualcomm and MediaTek can almost be compared to that of Intel and AMD. AMD has traditionally been more popular for its cost-efficient products while some sing praises of Intel's performance that comes at a high cost. AMD's recent rise to prominence even in performance may have helped encourage MediaTek to strike at the heart of Qualcomm's latest obsession: 5G.

MediaTek launched its Dimensity 1000 chip late last year, its first 5G-compatible SoC. In typical MediaTek fashion, it went on to launch no less than four other 5G chipsets under that brand, covering almost all tiers except the lowest and placing a Dimensity in front of every 5G Snapdragon. So far, however, have been in phones that were sold only in China, like those from Xiaomi, Honor, and even Vivo's iQOO.

According to IDC's Bryan Ma, the company's recent earnings call revealed that there will be big changes in that regard starting in the third quarter. Shipments of phones using its Dimensity 5G chips will soon be shipping to global markets, though, as Ma points out, it never said why it took it that long. Meanwhile, Snapdragon-powered phones with 5G capabilities have already been making rounds all over the world.

Perhaps the bigger question is which phones will actually be launching overseas and whether those will be enough to even leave a mark in Qualcomm's market share. So far, MediaTek's biggest customers have been the smaller players in the mobile market and the phones that carry its chips have not exactly been on any top-selling chart, at least not yet.