Apple considered Samsung and MediaTek for 5G modems in 2019 iPhones

(Reuters) — Apple held talks with Samsung Electronics and MediaTek together with current vendor Intel to provide 5G modem chips for 2019 iPhones, in response to an Apple government’s testimony at a trial between Qualcomm and the U.S. Federal Commerce Fee on Friday.

Between 2011 and 2016, Apple relied on San Diego-based Qualcomm as the only provider of such chips, which assist iPhones hook up with wi-fi networks. Beginning in 2016, Apple cut up the enterprise between Intel and Qualcomm, however in 2018, Apple moved solely to Intel for its latest telephones.

However Apple provide chain government Tony Blevins testified on Friday that Apple has additionally thought of MediaTek and Samsung, one among its largest rivals within the sensible cellphone market, to provide the chips for the next generation of wireless networks known as 5G. These networks are anticipated to begin rolling out this 12 months and supply quicker knowledge speeds than present 4G networks.

The FTC is suing Qualcomm alleging the chip provider engaged in anticompetitive patent licensing practices to protect a dominant place within the premium modem chip market.

On the stand at a federal courthouse in San Jose, California, Blevins testified that Apple has lengthy sought a number of suppliers for modem chips however signed an settlement with Qualcomm to completely provide the chips as a result of the chip provider provided deep rebates on patent license prices in alternate for exclusivity.

In 2013, Apple broke off work with Intel to begin supplying modems for the iPad Mini 2 as a result of Apple would lose its rebates through the use of Intel’s chips, rendering Intel’s merchandise “economically unattractive” general.

Later that 12 months after price negotiations with Qualcomm didn’t go as Apple hoped, Apple kicked off “Mission Vintage” to safe a second modem provider, Blevins testified.

By 2016 and 2017, Apple launched Intel’s modems in a few of its iPhones but additionally nonetheless used Qualcomm chips. However Apple’s lawsuit in opposition to Qualcomm filed in early 2017 induced their enterprise relationship to alter “in a really profound and detrimental method,” resulting in utilizing solely Intel’s modems for the telephones launched final 12 months.

“The whole idea of Mission Vintage was to discover a second provider. No offense to (Intel) however we don’t wish to be single provider with them. We wished each Qualcomm and (Intel) within the combine,” Blevins stated. Blevins additionally testified Apple thought of making Intel the only provider of modems for the Apple Watch, which added 4G connectivity in 2017 utilizing Qualcomm chips.

Blevins stated that speaking with Samsung, whose Galaxy and Be aware gadgets compete in opposition to the iPhone, is “not a perfect surroundings” for Apple, however that Samsung is at the moment the most important element provider to Apple.

Blevins didn’t say whether or not Apple had reached a call on a 5G modem provider or whether or not it could launch a 5G iPhone in 2019. Citing sources, Bloomberg beforehand reported that Apple wouldn’t launch such a cellphone till 2020.

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