Intel pulls out of 5G smartphone modem market

18 Apr 2019

Intel has announced plans to exit the 5G smartphone modem business hours after Apple announced it was settling its legal battles with Qualcomm over modem patent licensing.

Apple and Qualcomm announced they have reached an agreement whereby Apple will sign a six year patent licensing deal and agree to buy Qualcomm chipsets, in return for ceasing all litigation.

Apple had ceased using Qualcomm chips for its smartphones and replaced them with Intel chipsets after accusing Qualcomm of using its patents to maintain a monopoly on the modem chip market, and Qualcomm countered by accusing Apple of violating its patents.

But with Apple seemingly throwing in the towel, Intel announced it no longer expects to launch 5G modem products for smartphones.

The company pledged to continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, and said it still intends to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business and assess opportunities for 4G and 5G modems for PCs, IoT devices and other data-centric devices.

"We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” Intel CEO Bob Swan said.

"5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”

Image: iStock Photo

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