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News18 » Tech
1-min read

Did The Apple And Qualcomm Settlement Force Intel to Drop Out of The 5G Race?

Intel had confirmed that the earliest it will have a 5G modem available would be next year , which would have otherwise meant this year’s iPhone refresh cycle.

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:April 17, 2019, 10:02 AM IST
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Did The Apple And Qualcomm Settlement Force Intel to Drop Out of The 5G Race?
Intel had confirmed that the earliest it will have a 5G modem available would be next year , which would have otherwise meant this year’s iPhone refresh cycle.
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Just hours after Apple and Qualcomm announced that they are ending the long drawn legal battles, coming to an agreement and pretty much making up for the time lost with a renewed friendship, Intel announced that it is dropping out of the race to make 5G modems for smartphones. Instead, the chipmaker will focus efforts on 4G and 5G modems for PCs and computing devices, as well as smart homes.

While the Apple and the Qualcomm legal battles were being fought, there was a sense that Apple might use Intel’s 5G modems for their next range of iPhones. However, Intel had confirmed that the earliest it will have a 5G modem available would be in the year 2020, which would have otherwise meant this year’s iPhone refresh cycle, expected in September, could have missed out on 5G.

“The company will continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but does not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020,” says Intel in an official statement.

There are two ways of looking at this.

First, the Apple and Qualcomm agreements and new found friendship forced Intel to reconsider, since the potential order for 5G modems for the upcoming iPhones wasn’t going to fructify.

Secondly, Intel had made up its mind that since it was already behind the Qualcomm and Huawei 5G modem tech by almost an year, it would have perhaps made little business sense to go ahead with the development of 5G tech for smartphones. And that probably forced the issue which led to the agreement between Apple and Qualcomm. The deal will require Apple to pay Qualcomm an undisclosed amount, and also includes a six-year licensing agreement.

Intel was the sole supplier for smartphone modems for last year’s iPhones, as the battles with Qualcomm were ongoing at the time. But this announcement means the new iPhones expected later this year will also have the 5G technology which some of the recent Android phones are already adopting. At present, 5G mobile networks are being tested extensively in the US, South Korea, China and Japan, for instance, though a full roll-out for consumers should gradually happen only next year.

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