MediaTek's New 5G Modem Could Help Cheap Wearables Last Longer

The MediaTek T300 5G RedCap chip enables wearables and smart devices to tap into 5G networks for snappier internet connections and lower power consumption.

David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, telecom industry, mobile semiconductors, mobile gaming
David Lumb
2 min read
A smartphone with a MediaTek logo on its screen.
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At MWC 2024, MediaTek debuted its new low-power, low-cost solution to connect wearables and small devices to 5G networks. Whether it's an affordable fitness tracker or a bunch of sensors in a factory, this chip lets them use the best parts of modern mobile networks and 5G frequencies to send lots of data for an extended period of time. 

MediaTek said its new T300 5G RedCap (for "reduced capacity") is the mobile industry's first modem chip designed for inexpensive wearables and internet of things devices to use the 5G signal spectrum. Connecting to 5G enables more bandwidth and lower latency for data sharing over the previous 4G IoT solutions and consumes up to 60% less power, the chipmaker said in a press release.

Read more: Best 5G Phone For 2024

These advances will let the devices using the T300 last longer while worn or in the field and relay data more often, improving the quality of feedback for whatever they're tracking, be it industrial sensors or personal health in wearables. The T300 supports 3GPP release 17 standards for 5G and can access 5G standalone networks like those that US carriers are transitioning to.

MediaTek first announced that 5G-capable RedCap modems would be coming at its summit late last year. These chips will fill a niche for inexpensive devices that need some connectivity, but for which the blazing-fast gigabit speeds of smartphone 5G modems would be overkill, MediaTek GM and VP of corporate marketing Finbarr Moynihan told CNET at the summit.

"You don't need 10 gigabits per second, but what you really need is a couple of hundred megabits per second," Moynihan said. 

MediaTek has several partners lined up to use T300 modems in its products, though the company didn't say when T300-powered products would reach the market.

Read more: Top Phones to Expect in 2024: iPhone 16, Google Pixel 9 and More

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