Intel to Exit 5G Smartphone Market, Hours After Apple-Qualcomm Deal

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After Apple and Qualcomm announced a deal to end all litigation against each other, to go with their new multi-year licensing deal, Intel has made a surprise announcement of their own.

Intel says it will “exit the 5G smartphone modem business and complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices. Intel will also continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business.”

The company explained in a press release they will meet their existing partner obligations for 4G smartphone modems, but says it will not launch 5G modems, including those originally planned for 2020.

“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,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan, in a press release.

Intel says it will provide more details on the move during its Q1 2019 earnings call, slated for April 25, 2019.

Recent rumours had stated Apple may not be able to ship a 5G iPhone until 2020, laying the blame on Intel. With Apple’s new Qualcomm deal, a 5G iPhone may come sooner than expected now.

“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,” added Swan.