Samsung, MediaTek considered by Apple to supply 5G modems for 2019 iPhones

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Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins testified on Friday that the company has additionally thought-about MediaTek and Samsung, one among its largest rivals in the smartphone market, to provide the chips for following generation of wireless networks called 5G.

The iPhone maker command talks with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and MediaTek INC alongside existing merchant Intel corporation to provide 5G modem chips for 2019 iPhones, according to an executive’s testimony at an effort between Qualcomm INC and also the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Friday. Between 2011 and 2016, Apple relied on San Diego-based Qualcomm because of the sole provider of such chips, which facilitate iPhones connect with wireless networks. Beginning in 2016, Apple split the business between Intel and Qualcomm, but in 2018, phone makers moved entirely to Intel for its newest phones.

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But supply chain executive of Apple, Tony Blevins testified on Friday that Apple has additionally thought-about MediaTek and Samsung, one of its largest rivals in the smartphone market, to provide the chips for the future generation of wireless networks called 5G.

Those networks are expected to begin rolling out this year and provide faster data speeds than current 4G networks. The FTC is suing Qualcomm alleging the chip provider engaged in anti-competitive patent licensing practices to preserve a dominant position within the premium modem chip market.

On the stand at a federal courthouse in San Jose, California, Blevins testified that Apple has long sought-after multiple providers for modem chips, however, signed an agreement with Qualcomm to solely provide the chips because the chip supplier offered deep rebates on patent license prices in exchange for exclusivity.

In 2013, The iPhone maker stone-broke off work with Intel to begin supplying modems for the iPad mini 2 because Apple would lose its rebates by using Intel’s chips, rendering Intel’s product “economically unattractive” overall.

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The Qualcomm Case

Later that year once price negotiations with Qualcomm didn’t go as the company hoped, Apple started “Project Antique” to secure a second modem provider, Blevins testified. By 2016 and 2017, Apple introduced Intel’s modems in a number of its iPhones but additionally still used Qualcomm chips. however, Apple’s case against Qualcomm filed in early 2017 caused their relationship to change “in a really profound and negative manner,” resulting in using solely Intel’s modems for the phones released last year.

“The entire idea of Project Antique was to search out a second provider. No offense to (Intel) but we don’t wish to be the single provider with them. we wished each Qualcomm and (Intel) in the mix,” Blevins said. Blevins additionally testified Apple thought-about making Intel the only provider of modems for the Apple Watch, which added 4G connectivity in 2017 using Qualcomm chips.

Blevins said that talking with Samsung, whose Galaxy and Note devices contend against the iPhone, is “not a perfect environment” for the company, but that Samsung is presently the biggest component provider to Apple.

Blevins didn’t say whether or not Apple had reached a choice on a 5G modem provider or whether it’d unleash a 5G iPhone in 2019. Citing sources, Bloomberg previously reported that Apple wouldn’t release such a phone till 2020.