Intel has a new direction, and that is becoming a foundry competing with TSMC not just for Intel-designed chips but for other vendors as well. Today, Intel announced a new deal with MediaTek that will see MediaTek use Intel Foundry Services (IFS) as a foundry partner and source for some MediaTek chips in the future.
Intel Foundry Services Inks MediaTek Deal
Intel Foundry Services was unveiled as part of the Intel IDM 2.0 framework in 2021. Intel has been famous for the feast or famine it enjoys with vertical integration. Intel’s goal is to get more customers to use its manufacturing for chips and to expand its manufacturing business. While many are focused solely on leading-edge processes, the more mature process nodes are often impacted by supply constraints these days.
Aside from Intel Acquiring Tower Semiconductor, the company needs to get large customers onboard as IFS customers if they are to succeed in this area. It has a lot of potential but will require signing well-known companies, even competitors on the chip design side, as customers.
MediaTek is an Intel competitor in some segments. For example, Intel has its AX200/ AX210 WiFi chipsets, while MediaTek has partnered with AMD to deliver a competing WiFi 6E solution that we have seen in a number of AMD system reviews.
Still, Intel is investing in capacities for specific markets like the US and Europe. As a result, it seems like MediaTek is planning to use Intel for some future capacity. Here is an excerpt from the press release.
The agreement is designed to help MediaTek build a more balanced, resilient supply chain through the addition of a new foundry partner with significant capacity in the United States and Europe.
MediaTek plans to use Intel process technologies to manufacture multiple chips for a range of smart edge devices. (Source: Intel)
MediaTek seems to be positioning this as an agreement to expand and diversify capacity rather than to replace existing foundry partners. From the materials today, MediaTek does not sound as though it is planning to use IFS-only for its manufacturing. The deal seems to be just adding an additional option for the company.
This is a net positive for Intel’s IDM 2.0 vision and IFS. MediaTek already collaborates with Intel in some areas and competes in others. These are the types of deals that Intel needs in order to show the market that IFS is a legitimate alternative for fab-less chip designers to TSMC. As great as this deal is, the real proof will come when it is time to make chips and to see how much of MediaTek’s product mix Intel actually gets. That one will be answered in time.