It's a tragedy for all of us that Intel is abandoning the 5G modem business. It had little choice after Apple & Qualcomm cut a deal. That leaves Qualcomm with almost no 5G competition except Taiwan's MediaTek and China's Spreadtrum. Competition doesn't just drive down prices; it forces all to excel.
Intel remains one of history's greatest chipmakers, but Qualcomm is a year ahead of them in 5G, a remarkable achievement. Intel has lost US$billions in mobile and never found a niche. They will presumably take a large write-off in a few weeks and may fire thousands of engineers.
SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 16, 2019 – Intel Corporation today announced its intention to exit the 5G smartphone modem business and complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices. Intel will also continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business.
The company will continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but does not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020.
“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”
Intel expects to provide additional details in its upcoming first-quarter 2019 earnings release and conference call, scheduled for April 25.