Chinese smartphone-maker Huawei could be considering selling its high powered 5G-enabled modems and chipsets to Apple, according to media reports.
“A source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed that Huawei is now ‘open’ to selling its ‘5G Balong 5000’ chipsets, but only to Apple,” Engadget reported on Monday.
So far, the company has refrained from selling the advanced processors and modems it uses on its mobile portfolio to other competitors.
Launched in January, Huawei’s modem “5G Balong 5000” was introduced as the world’s most powerful 5G modem and the first that fully supports both, Non-Standalone (NSA) and Standalone (SA) 5G network architectures.
“Huawei’s surprising change of heart only really matters because Apple appears to be in a tough spot with its sole modem supplier, Intel. The chipmaker currently provides the wireless modems that go into all current iPhones and iPads and it said late last year that its 5G-ready ‘XMM 8160’ modems would be available for its customers in the second half of 2019,” the report said.
However, citing an an anonymous source, recent media reports claimed that Apple has “lost confidence” in Intel after the chipmaker failed to meet certain development deadlines.
Besides, Apple’s ongoing legal battles with US-based chip-maker Qualcomm also gives Huawei the edge to sell its technologies to the iPhone-maker without having to face tough competition.
However, it is also worth noting that the US considers Huawei a security threat because of its close link with the Chinese government.
Not only has the US government banned their federal agencies from using Huawei products, but it has also been encouraging other countries to refrain from using Huawei’s technology with their 5G networks.
But the “Balong 5000” seems like the kind of chip Apple would need. It supports both sub-6 and mmWave 5G networks, and is backward compatible with 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks.
This would give Apple the ability to build an iPhone that would support 5G networks built off of existing 4G infrastructure, as well as the “standalone” 5G networks that will follow, the report added.
As explained by the company earlier, the Balong chipset, which is currently for Huawei’s internal use only, is mainly intended to support Huawei’s smart products, such as Internet of Things (IoT) products and phones including Huawei’s “Mate 20X” and foldable “Mate X” smartphones.