Samsung may end up supplying modems for 5G iPhones

Lloyd Doyle
January 14, 2019

Earlier in the day, Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins testified that it was Apple's practice to pursue at least two suppliers and as many as six for each of the more than 1,000 components in the iPhone. Apple split orders between Intel and Qualcomm in 2016 and moved all of its orders to Intel past year for its new iPhones. Those networks are expected to start rolling out this year and provide faster data speeds than current 4G networks.

Antitrust regulators argue that Qualcomm's deal with Apple is symptomatic of the way Qualcomm behaves more generally, with anticompetitive practices created to block out rival chipmakers. The company has long wanted multiple suppliers for cellular chips but inked an exclusive agreement with Qualcomm as it offered substantial rebates on patent license costs if it was granted exclusivity. Qualcomm's argument for the court is that a $1 billion of incentive payments to switch suppliers is an unusually high amount, so it had to ensure cost recuperation somehow, hence demanding that future iPhones come with its modems inside only.

But it wasn't just Qualcomm that Apple was courting.

"The entire concept of Project Antique was to find a second supplier". However, between 2016 and 2017 Apple utilized Qualcomm and Intel chips. Interestingly, Apple just doesn't want to exclusively use Intel as the supplier of this particular product in its iPhone lineup, and apparently still wanted to retain the Qualcomm and Intel situation it had years ago. "Would we get everything we wanted, given that we paid so much in incentive?" he testified.

"They made it very unattractive for us to use another chip supplier", Blevins said, according to Reuters.

Blevins did not say whether Apple had reached a decision on a 5G modem supplier or whether it would release a 5G iPhone in 2019.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article