Intel and Ericsson partner on 5G custom chip


The two firms have been in partnership for nearly ten years developing network equipment, most recently for Ericsson’s Cloud RAN product line Intel and Ericsson have deepened their existing partnership this week, with Intel agreeing to make new custom chips for Ericsson’s 5G infrastructure.

As part of the agreement, Intel will produce custom 5G system-on-chips (SoCs), which will reportedly enable Ericsson to increase the energy efficiency and capacity of its cloud RAN technology.

Intel will use its ‘18A’ process for the chip’s production, which is the most advanced node of Intel’s ‘five-in-four-years’ roadmap it announced in 2021.

It has not been disclosed when the chip will hit the market, although Intel have previously said its 18A technology will be ready late next year, sooner than predicted.

“Ericsson has a long history of close collaboration with Intel, and we are pleased to expand this further as we utilize Intel to manufacture our future custom 5G SoCs on their 18A process node, which is in line with Ericsson’s long-term strategy for a more resilient and sustainable supply chain,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks at Ericsson.

“In addition, we will be expanding our collaboration that we announced at MWC 2023 to work together with the ecosystem to accelerate industry-scale open RAN utilising standard Intel Xeon-based platforms.”

Intel hopes that the development of these new processes will allow them to return to a position of market leadership by 2025, having lost ground in recent years to key rivals such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

TSMC is the largest chip maker in the world, controlling 58% revenue market share as of Q4 last year, and recently have been manufacturing the world’s smallest and most powerful semi-conductors.

In trying to increase its global market share, Intel is building new chip plants around the world, including a $4.6 billion plant in Poland, and a $20 billion Ohio factory.