Qualcomm CEO says no plans to provide Apple modems in 2024

Apple is moving to internal 5G modem chips for its 2024 iPhones, as far as the CEO of Qualcomm — who currently produces them for the tech giant — is aware of that.

“We’re not making plans for 2024, my planning assumption is that we don’t provide (Apple) with a modem in ’24, but that’s their decision to make,” Cristiano Amon told CNBC at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Apple’s latest iPhone 14 models use Qualcomm modems, but the company has been trying to go solo in the wireless connectivity market for a few years.

The bought Intel’s modem business 2019 and there had been speculation that it would start using internal parts this year.

In an interview with CNBC’s Karen Tso and Arjun Kharpal, Amon said Qualcomm had told investors back in 2021 that it didn’t expect to provide modems for the iPhone in 2023, but Apple then decided to hold off for another year.

Amon did not confirm whether Apple would pay Qualcomm QTL licenses if it moves to its own modems, but said royalties were “independent of providing a chip.”

Qualcomm has been diversify their business for semiconductors for vehicles and low-power applications.

We are all in the car industry, says Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon

Amon also addressed the US lawsuit filed against Qualcomm by the British semiconductor company Arm. The legal battle between two of the world’s biggest chip designers comes as Qualcomm tries to grow in the PC market; to do that, that acquired a company called Nuvia, whose server chips are based on Arm architecture.

Arm claims it needs a license to use the chip designs and is seeking damages and forcing Qualcomm to destroy various information and hardware related to the purchase.

“It’s very unfortunate, this litigation, but the reality is that we have very broad rights to Arm IP, one of their early licensees,” Amon said. “We feel pretty good about a solution and we’re just moving forward with our plans. And all of our customers are very excited about what we’re doing in this area.”

On a Report by the Wall Street Journal that the US government is considering revoking export licenses for US suppliers to Huawei, Amon said: “We have licenses to sell 4G chips to Huawei. We are complying with our license, but we have yet to see any action.”

He called the US Chips and Science Act a “good thing” that had encouraged companies like TSMC and Samsung to build facilities in the country.

Revoking the license would result in a financial hit for Qualcomm, he said, but stressed that the company was more diversified, providing modems to companies including Samsung, Opal and Honor and growing in cars and internet of things.