Intel confirms its 5G modem chips won’t release commercially until 2020

Intel Corp executives have clarified that the company’s 5G model chips will not be available in mobile phones until 2020. This suggests that Apple will be more than a year behind compared to Samsung, Huawei, and others in launching iPhones with 5G connectivity. 

Sandra Rivera, who oversees Intel’s networking chip business, said at a media event in California, that sample 5G modem chips will ship to customers this year, but the company does not expect consumer “products in the market” until 2020. Though Intel said that its 5G modem chips will be available later this year, it never indicated when it would arrive for consumers. Rivera said non-consumer 5G products, such as networking gear, will appear later this year.

Since many rumors in the past pointed at iPhones with 5G would not launch until 2020, this new announcement from Intel only strengthens the claims. Apple executives have held talks with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and MediaTek Inc over 5G modem chips for iPhones to be released this year, but the outcome of those talks is currently unknown. It is also reported that Apple earlier this year moved its modem engineering efforts into the same division that makes its proprietary processor chips.

Intel also mentioned that its modems could appear in a range of other devices, such as network gear, alongside Intel’s computing chips as 5G networks proliferate. Swan said Intel did not plan to generate patent licensing revenue from its 5G technology like its Southern California competitor does.