According to testimony by Apple at today’s trial between San Diego-based Qualcomm and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the iPhone maker revealed it also considered 5G modem chips from rival Samsung and MediaTek, for this year’s iPhones, on top of chips from Intel.
As per Reuters’ Stephen Nellis:
But Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins testified on Friday that Apple has also considered MediaTek and Samsung, one of its largest rivals in the smart phone market, to supply the chips for the next generation of wireless networks known as 5G. Those networks are expected to start rolling out this year and provide faster data speeds than current 4G networks.
On the stand at a federal courthouse in San Jose, California, Blevins testified that Apple has long sought multiple suppliers for modem chips but signed an agreement with Qualcomm to exclusively supply the chips because the chip supplier offered deep rebates on patent license costs in exchange for exclusivity.
Apple had used Qualcomm chips for its smartphones only from 2011 to 2016, but from 2016 to 2017, Intel modem chips were used exclusively by the iPhone maker. Apple signed a deal with Qualcomm because the latter offered huge rebates on patent licensing costs in exchange for exclusivity, according to Reuters.
However, Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion USD in 2017, alleging the latter “unfairly insisted on charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with.”
According to Apple, “The entire concept of Project Antique was to find a second supplier. No offense to [Intel] but we don’t want to be single supplier with them. We wanted both Qualcomm and [Intel] in the mix,” Blevins explained.
Blevin did not reveal if Apple had found a 5G modem supplier yet, or whether the company would unveil a 5G iPhone this year. Previous reports have claimed Apple’s 5G iPhone may not debut until 2020.