Huawei has dismissed reports stating that the Chinese consumer electronics giant is open to selling its 5G modems to Apple. Huawei has long maintained a stance that its Kirin processors and Balong modems for its internal use. However, a report emerged last week stating that the company is having a change of heart and is willing to share the technology with only one company: Apple. While neither Apple nor Huawei officially commented on the report, it seemed like a speculation with little material to it. Now, Huawei has confirmed that it has no plans to sell its Balong 5G modem to the Cupertino giant.
During a Q&A session at Huawei Analyst Summit, the company representatives discredited the report saying, “We have no change in our chipset strategy, and no communication with Apple on 5G modems.” The confirmation comes on the heels of a settlement between Apple and Qualcomm allowing the former to use latter’s 5G modem in iPhone models launching next year. Huawei and Qualcomm are the leaders in 5G mobile modem market right now. Huawei has put its 5G modem named Balong 5000 on models like Mate X and the 5G version of Mate 20 X.
Response to Apple 5G modems question: No change in terms of our chip set strategy. And no communication with Apple about #5G modems. But they believe that Apple is a great company and a pivotal company in the mobile industry. #HAS2019
— Anshel Sag (@anshelsag) 16 April 2019
Qualcomm’s 5G modem, the Snapdragon X50, has been seen on models like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G and ZTE Axon 10 Pro. Apple, which was engaged in a legal battle with Qualcomm till this morning, was reportedly looking for a new partner beyond Intel. The report said that Apple considered both Samsung and MediaTek’s 5G solutions, but was dismissed as impractical or technically not viable at the moment.
Apple is not expected to ship iPhone with 5G support this year and its first models with 5G support are expected to arrive only next year. The iPhone maker has negotiated a settlement with Qualcomm where both the companies will immediately drop all the ongoing lawsuits and Apple has signed a six-year license agreement. Intel, on the other hand, announced that it will exit 5G mobile modem business after the settlement between Apple and Qualcomm was announced.
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Apple is already rumored to be working on its own 5G modem and is said to be looking for a second supplier. Huawei, which could have won the contract for competent technology, would have found it difficult to get approval from the US government, which had banned the Chinese company’s telecom gears and is also asking its allies to not use Huawei’s telecom equipment to build their 5G infrastructure.