Phones

Samsung may end up supplying modems for 5G iPhones

Samsung’s 5G modem will debut in its flagship smartphones this year. The company will be open to selling this chip to other customers as well. It appears that Apple could be one of those customers. It was revealed during the testimony of an Apple executive at the trial between Qualcomm and Apple on Friday that the Cupertino, California-based company has held talks with Samsung on sourcing 5G modem chips for future iPhones.

Qualcomm was the sole supplier of cellular modems for Apple’s devices between 2011 and 2016. Apple split orders between Intel and Qualcomm in 2016 and moved all of its orders to Intel last year for its new iPhones. The move followed the ongoing legal battle between the two companies.

Apple held discussions with Samsung on 5G modems

Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins testified last week that Apple has considered sourcing 5G modems from Samsung and even MediaTek. 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.

He also mentioned how Apple wanted both Qualcomm and Intel in the mix. Ot did not want to rely too much on a single supplier. However, its business relationship with Qualcomm changed “in a very profound and negative manner” after the lawsuit was filed in 2017. This led to Apple only using Intel modems in its new iPhones last year.

Samsung obvious stands to gain from this. It announced its Exynos Modem 5100 for smartphones five months ago. Samsung says that it’s the industry’s first 5G modem that’s fully 3GPP-compliant. It’s a single-chip modem with multi-mode communication support. Samsung said that it would begin supplying the modem to customers by the end of last year.

Blevins acknowledged that being in discussions with Samsung on this is “not an ideal environment” for Apple. However, he rightly pointed out that Samsung happens to be the largest component supplier to Apple. If a deal is reached, its impact may not reflect in the company’s bottom line before the next fiscal year. Apple’s 5G iPhones aren’t expected to arrive until 2020.

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Biransahin
Biransahin

Where would Apple be today without Samsung technologies?

Gunter2
Gunter2

You’re spot on there, for years Apple have relied on Samsung tech. Even the old so called retina displays were Samsung LCD screens, plus the dram chips, the present screen, and many less well known components are Samsung products. At one time only Samsung had the technology available to make the A series chips. Though now that’s not the case anymore Apple still relies on Samsung designed components for many essential parts of both the iPhone and iPad. People always forget about the iPad but many parts inside are from Samsung too.

Biransahin
Biransahin

Exactly, it’s just a fact. Not a dig against Apple but the iPhone could never have been built without Samsung technologies. It’s not in dispute. I noticed someone, maybe an Apple fan disliked my comment. They can dislike the truth if they want to. It doesn’t change it though.

locarno
locarno

I remember that Samsung failed with A chips with TMSC. TMSC chips had better performance.

Biransahin
Biransahin

Actually it was down to price. TSMC gave a cheaper price.

locarno
locarno

Chipgate
I thought it was about performance and heat. Not about price.

Biransahin
Biransahin

The chip was designed by Apple so it’s not possible to be different. You know Apple, they will always take the cheapest option.

Gunter2
Gunter2

They were just rumours for people who try to find an explanation. A company can only manufacture something to the customer specifications. Apple just wanted the chips cheap and TSMC is a cheap manufacturer.

Gunter2
Gunter2

No, It was the price. I remember reading it in Korean Times that TSMC gave a more competitive price. The performance thing was just a silly rumour. Don’t believe everything you read mein freund! The chip is an Apple design so performance can’t be different. It’s the same chip.