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Intel Announces 5G Exit: Can Qualcomm Be Apple’s Chip Supplier?


Apr. 18 2019, Published 3:41 p.m. ET

Intel’s exit from the 5G phone business

On April 16, Intel (INTC) announced that it is planning to exit the 5G smartphone modem market, as it wants to put its efforts towards 4G and 5G modems for PCs (personal computers), smart home devices, and other data-centric devices. Intel also prefers to continue investing in its broader 5G infrastructure business. As a result, Intel is not likely to launch 5G modems for 5G smartphones, including for Apple’s (AAPL) 5G phones that were set to launch in 2020.

Intel has dominated computing processors for more than a decade but is now facing fierce competition from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which is gearing up to expand in the fast-growing server chips market. Intel also competes with NVIDIA (NVDA) in the chips processor market.

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Qualcomm might again become Apple’s chip supplier

Intel’s move to abandon its 5G modems for mobiles came as a disappointment to Apple, which relied exclusively on Intel to provide the devices’ modems, as the iPhone maker was unable to settle its licensing dispute with Qualcomm (QCOM). Apple’s concerns heightened as it was solely dependent on Intel to provide 5G modems for its 5G phones, which are expected to launch in 2020.

Therefore, Apple will likely resume working with Qualcomm and use Qualcomm’s modems and its 5G components in its 5G smartphones next year.


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