Apple has considered the possibility of using modems from Samsung and MediaTek in its future 5G devices, testimony at a US Federal Trade Commission trial with Qualcomm reveals, with an Apple executive confirming there is a possibility of the two companies providing modems for the forthcoming 2019 iPhone refresh.
Advised in antitrust trial testimony on Friday, Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins confirmed Apple had looked towards other rival modem suppliers as potential sources of modems, Reuters reports. It was not revealed if one or both companies had the prospect of becoming a supplier, nor what proportion of modems they would supply alongside Intel.
The admission suggested Apple is fine with the idea of allowing multiple suppliers to provide modems for iPhones, which would be a return to form for the company. In 2016, Apple moved from Qualcomm as the only supplier to having Intel as a secondary option, but by 2018, Apple had instead moved entirely to Intel, freezing Qualcomm out of the supply chain for that specific component.
Blevins was giving testimony in court as part of the antitrust trial between Qualcomm and the FTC, which commenced last week. The suit was initiated nearly two years ago, with the FTC accusing Qualcomm of forcing Apple into an exclusive modem deal that ran between 2011 and 2016, in exchange for lower patent royalties.