Supply chain whispers recently claimed that a significant portion of LTE cellular modems for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus would be built by Intel instead of Qualcomm and now Bloomberg is reporting that Intel modems will be actually reserved for AT&T iPhone 7 models.
Qualcomm is expected to remain Apple’s modem provider for Verizon and China-bound iPhone 7 handsets. Qualcomm’s boss had said he expected a major customer to diversify its supplier base.
“While Qualcomm is losing some orders, it’s retaining a major chunk of Apple’s business, offsetting concern that one of its largest customers would drop it completely,” said people familiar with the matter.
Qualcomm gets an estimated $15 per phone from Apple, or about $3.47 billion in Apple’s fiscal 2015.
Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon cautioned that Qualcomm’s modems “remain ahead of Intel’s offerings in performance” when measured by how much data they can get from the network into the phone.
Qualcomm is currently the only provider of the iPhone’s baseband processor that connects it to cellular networks and converts radio signals into voice and data. The original iPhone ran a modem chip by Infineon Technologies AG, but their wireless division was later acquired by Intel, prompting Apple to choose Qualcomm for subsequent versions of the iPhone.
This has resulted in Intel failing to put its modem chip in any smartphone that has sold in significant numbers so this would be a major win for them.