Intel has an opportunity to be the exclusive supplier of LTE modems for all the new iPhone models issued in 2018. This information was provided by Ming-Chi Kuo who is a KGI Securities analyst. Thus, his main statement contained the following key points:
We expect Intel to be the exclusive supplier of baseband chip for 2H18 new iPhone models, while Qualcomm may not have a share of the orders at all.
First of all, the new Intel XMM 7560 modem supports both CDMA as well as GSM, which means that Apple has the opportunity to launch the iPhone model that works across T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. Intel modems used to lack CDMA, which means that Apple cannot completely leave Qualcomm for all the Apple iPhone models. Eventually, earlier Kuo stated that Intel would supply 70% of modems, while Qualcomm would provide the remaining 30% of all orders. However, now he presumes that Intel can be a single supplier with several competitive advantages.
Apple’s business is still embroiled in a serious lawsuit with Qualcomm because of anti-competitive licensing practices, and Kuo believes that the iPhone manufacturer will provide the additional pressure on Qualcomm by switching to Intel as its own unique modem provider.
After that, Kuo stated it was too early to talk about whether Intel could save its position in the future because Apple tends to diversify its own supply chain. He adds that, however, Apple has a great opportunity to give Qualcomm orders again in exchange for concessions in the ongoing lawsuit between the two companies. In its turn, Qualcomm was the only supplier of chipsets for Apple until the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, when Intel began to distribute some orders.
To reimburse the lost iPhone business, Kuo awaits that Qualcomm will become more persistent in securing Chinese phone manufacturers’ orders. However, he believes that these Chinese firms do not want to create a monopolized, so Qualcomm’s ability to get a certain percentage of market share in the country can be considerably limited.
So, What’s in the End?
Kuo approved that LTE transfer speed will grow in the new iPhone models released in the second half of 2018. In a research note from November 2017, Kuo pointed out the Intel XMM 7560 modem supports 4×4 MIMO technology in comparison with only 2×2 MIMO in the iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone X. Particularly, more rapid LTE speed of a signal will still be possible thanks to the refreshed antenna design in the next generation of iPhones.