Intel on Tuesday announced it is exiting the 5G smartphone modem business.
The move came just hours after Apple announced it had settled its lawsuits with Qualcomm and entered into a “multiyear chipset supply agreement” with the chip giant.
Intel previously insisted it would have a 5G modem available in 2020, though analysts had doubted its ability to make good on that promise. Now, Intel no longer expects to launch 5G smartphone modems at all.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Going forward, Intel will instead focus its 5G efforts on its network infrastructure business and “complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices, and other data-centric devices,” the company said.
Meanwhile, PCMag’s Lead Mobile Analyst Sascha Segan says Apple’s deal with Qualcomm means the Cupertino tech giant’s 5G iPhone is “back on for 2020.”
“Before Apple and Qualcomm came to terms, the future of when the iPhone would jump on next-generation networks was quite cloudy,” Segan wrote in an analysis yesterday. Now, “Apple will almost certainly ask Qualcomm to make a custom thin modem based on its second-generation X55, which is a single modem that can work with diverse global 4G and 5G networks.”
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