Apple considering acquisition of Intel's 5G modem business
Back in mid-April this year, Apple and Qualcomm entered a 5G partnership that will allow future iPhone models to use Qualcomm’s 5G modems. This was a surprising move because, up until then, Apple and Qualcomm have been engaged in legal disputes over Qualcomm’s patent licensing practices, plus Apple was supposed to collaborate with Intel for future 5G developments. Consequently, Intel announced that it was going to exit the 5G modem business based in Germany. Meanwhile, it appears that Intel has seen “significant interest” in its 5G business, however, no company names were revealed.
According to the Information, Apple immediately contacted Intel in April in order to acquire parts of the wireless modem business, but Intel needed more time to valuate its 5G portfolio. Intel's own wireless modem business was started when it acquired Infineon for US$1.4 billion in 2011, and Infineon is the one who supplied apple with mobile modems for its first few iPhone generations, so this could give us a starting point for the valuation of the 5G business. Word on the street is that, if Apple indeed manages to acquire Intel’s 5G business, this could end up being the company’s most expensive acquisition to date.
Even if it gets access to Intel’s 5G technology, Apple is probably still going to need at least 3-4 years to develop its own modems and put an end the forced partnership with Qualcomm.