MediaTek Overtakes Qualcomm in the 5G Smartphone Chip Market

According to recent data from Omdia, MediaTek has made significant strides in the 5G smartphone chip market, surpassing Qualcomm in shipments. In the first quarter of this year, MediaTek-powered 5G smartphones reached 53 million units, a 53% increase compared to the same period last year. In contrast, shipments of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon-equipped smartphones saw a modest rise from 47.2 million to 48.3 million units.

This surge has boosted MediaTek’s market share to 29.2%, up from 22.8% in Q1 2023. Conversely, Qualcomm’s share has declined to 26.5% from 31.2%. Apple holds the third spot, while other players like Samsung’s Exynos, Huawei’s HiSilicon Kirin, Google Tensor, and Unisoc fill the remaining market.

5G Market Dynamics

It’s important to note that Omdia’s figures focus on processing units rather than 5G modems. Despite Apple using its in-house processors, it still relies on Qualcomm for 5G modems, potentially influencing these figures.

Affordable 5G Smartphones Driving Growth

The rising adoption of 5G and the growth of the low-end segment are major trends shaping the smartphone chipset market. MediaTek benefits significantly from the increasing availability of affordable 5G smartphones.

Shipments of 5G smartphones priced below $250 surged by 62% year-on-year to 62.8 million units in the first quarter, positioning MediaTek as the go-to choice for budget-friendly devices. Demand for sub-$150 phones also soared, with shipments climbing from 90 million to 120 million units.

Premium Market Insights

While the affordable segment is booming, the premium market, starting at $600, is also experiencing growth, though at a slower pace. Shipments in this category rose to 73 million from 70 million, driven by the launch of high-end models like Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series and the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Qualcomm is poised to reclaim its position in this segment, leveraging the advanced on-device AI capabilities of its latest Snapdragon chipsets, which are particularly attractive for premium devices.

Future Outlook

MediaTek’s rise highlights the growing availability and adoption of budget 5G smartphones, making advanced technology accessible to a wider audience. At the same time, Qualcomm’s focus on AI and premium features suggests it will remain a key player in the high-end market.

As the industry continues to evolve, the competition between MediaTek and Qualcomm will likely drive further innovations, benefiting consumers with a broader range of options and more advanced features at various price points.

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