UNISOC/Spreadtrum will ship a 5G modem and full system on chip by late this year or early 2020. It announced the "5G technology platform" MAKALU and the IVY510 modem in February. It now has chips in test. 

UNISOC has nearly unlimited backing from the government and Tsinghua Unigroup. 3,000+ engineers are led by Stephen Chu and other experienced managers. They intend to become a major international chip company. For several years, the then-named Spreadtrum cooperated closely with Intel on LTE and other chips. They now are on their own, hoping for an IPO in 2020.

China will have well over 130,000 5G base stations in 2019 and 1,000,000 bases amazingly quickly. Tens of millions will soon be buying 5G phones.

As the only Chinese chipmaker in 5G, it can expect (indirect) government support as part of Made in China 2025. The Chinese press and senior officials have been stressing the need for China to become self-reliant in chips. I'm sure the attack on Huawei has given the campaign a new urgency. 

China Mobile ended 2018 with 551,000,000 4G NB-IoT connections and expects to add 300,000,000 in 2019. The entire rest of the world has fewer than half as many.  IoT is a key part of the national plan, supported at the highest level.

UNISOC expects a major role in 5G IoT, especially in industry. Ericsson and especially Nokia expect Industrial IoT to be a major industry in the West, but that's unproven. With government support, IIoT will be huge in China.

Most cellular IoT will be 4G for several years. Complexity and cost will limit the role of 5G, at least until the more advanced URLLC becomes available. British Telecom recently announced URLLC will start deploying in 2023. It is the first committed to URLLC in the West. Other carriers are uncertain if demand will justify the high cost. China will go full steam ahead.

The name will soon become better known around the world. 

Here's the pr. 


Feb 26, 2019

Barcelona, Spain –26 February, 2019– As a leading global supplier of mobile communications chipsets and IoT chipsets, UNISOC, a core subsidiary of Unigroup, today launched the 5G technology platform MAKALU and its first 5G Modem IVY510, at MWC 2019 in Barcelona. The release of MAKALU and IVY510 will further accelerate the commercialization of 5G technology and will provide consumers with a brand new mobile broadband experience.

UNISOC announced its IVY brand in 2018, which supports the IoT products to build a connected society. As a brand new 5G technology platform, MAKALU will help power a huge rise in the Internet of Things. UNISOC plans to launch a series of IVY products based on the MAKALU platform in the near future.

“MAKALU” is named after MAKALU Mountain, the fifth highest peak in the world, standing at 8,463 meters. “MAKALU” represents a tremendous power and awe-inspiring strength, symbolizing UNISOC’s solid technological foundation and innovative spirit to constantly break through the limit and scale new heights. It also signifies UNISOC’s firm determination to position itself as a leading semiconductor company in the world and its ambition to re-shape the cellular industry in 5G era. 

UNISOC IVY510 is the first 5G Modem of UNISOC based on the MAKALU technology platform, produced with TSMC’s 12nm process. As the first 2G/3G/4G/5G multimode platform of UNISOC, IVY510 complies to the latest 3GPP R15 standard, and supports Sub-6GHz 5G spectrum with a channel bandwidth of 100MHz, which is a highly integrated, high performance, low power 5G platform, supports both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) network configurations to meet communication and networking requirements during different stages of 5G deployment.  

As a primary application for 5G, UNISOC IVY510 can provide users with a premium experience for high data-rate mobile broadband services such as AR/VR, 4K/8K HD video streaming, online games, and so on. With its flexibility, IVY510 can be used in a wide range of 5G devices, including but not limited to smart phones, residential CPEs, MiFi, and 5G IoT devices. The latter is especially critical in helping promote 5G technology in the vast number of vertical applications. 

Mr. Shijing Diao, Co-President of Unigroup, Vice Chairman and CEO of UNISOC, said, “UNISOC is a pioneer in wireless industry, and has a long history in developing competitive solutions for mobile communications and IoT applications since 2G/3G/4G era. UNISOC is a driving force behind many critical innovations that have shaped the cellular industry. UNISOC continues to play an important role in 5G standardization and commercialization. The launch of MAKALU signifies UNISOC’s commitment in accelerating the 5G development and deployment. Together with our partners, UNISOC is committed to promoting 5G technology and its applications in diverse industries around the world.”

"The launch of MAKALU reshapes the landscape of the 5G industry. It demonstrates UNISOC’s deep technological accumulation and huge development potential, and will bring greater values to our customers and partners." Mr. Steve Chu, Director of the Board and Co-CEO of UNISOC, said, "5G enables a new era of Internet of Everything. UNISOC has been and will continue to focus on 5G, drive its maturity and commercialization, and bring better services and user experience to our customers.”

As a core subsidiary of Tsinghua Unigroup, UNISOC is a leading fabless semiconductor company committed to the independent research and development of core chipsets in mobile communications and IoT. Its products cover mobile chipset platforms supporting 2G/3G/4G/5G communication standards. With more than 4,500 staff, 14 R&D centers and 8 customer support centers around the world (as of Oct 2018), UNISOC is among the top mobile chipset suppliers globally, a leading 5G company, and one of the largest chipset providers for IoT and connectivity devices in the world.