(Reuters) – Apple held talks with Samsung Electronics and MediaTek in conjunction with existing Intel vendor to deliver 5G modem chips for 2019 iPhones, according to an Apple executive board member in a lawsuit between Qualcomm and the US Federal Trade Commission on Friday.
Between 2011 and 2016, Apple relied on San Diego-based manufacturer Qualcomm as the only provider of such chips that enables iPhones to connect to wireless networks. From 2016, Apple divided the business between Intel and Qualcomm, but in 2018 Apple moved for its latest phones exclusively to Intel.
But Tony Blevins, Apple's supply chain representative, said on Friday that Apple has also considered MediaTek and Samsung's biggest competitor in the smartphone market to be the chips for the next generation of wireless networks (5G) deliver. It is expected that these networks will be operational later this year, providing faster data speeds than current 4G networks.
The FTC is suing Qualcomm, claiming that the chipmaker has used anticompetitive patent licensing to gain a dominant position in the premium fashion chip market.
At a federal court in San Jose, California, Blevins testified that Apple had long sought several fashion chip providers, but signed a contract with Qualcomm for exclusive delivery of the chips, as the chipmaker offered deep discounts on patent licensing fees in exchange for exclusivity.
Later After Apple did not proceed as expected with the cost negotiations with Qualcomm, Apple launched a second mode with "Project Antique" My supplier Blevins testified.
Until 2016 and 2017, Apple introduced Intel modems in some of its iPhones, but also used Qualcomm chips. However, Apple's lawsuit against Qualcomm, filed in early 2017, made their relationship "very profound and negative," which resulted in only the modems from Intel being used for phones released last year.
Find a second supplier. No insult to (Intel), but we do not want to work with a single vendor. We wanted both Qualcomm and (Intel) in the mix, "said Blevins. Blevins also testified that Apple was the only provider of modems for the Apple Watch that added 4G connectivity in 2017 to the use of Qualcomm chips.
Blevins said that talking to Samsung, whose Galaxy and Note devices compete with the iPhone, is "not" an ideal environment for Apple, but Samsung is currently Apple's largest supplier.
Blevins did not say if Apple opted for a 5G fashion provider or whether it would launch a 5G iPhone in 2019. Bloomberg previously reported that Apple would not release such a phone until 2020.