MediaTek May Replace Intel as Apple’s Modem Supplier for iPhones

Northland analyst Gus Richard claims that MediaTek might replace Intel as the modem supplier for future Apple products. The note does not provide any more details as to when Apple might make the switch or when MediaTek plans to unveil its modem.

There were rumors last year of MediaTek supplying Apple with modem for its 2018 iPhone lineup but that certainly does not seem to the case. The news, however, has been enough to lead Intel stocks to drop. The company has been supplying Apple with its CPUs for its Macs for a few years now, and it started supplying modem to the company as well starting with the iPhone 7.

For the 2018 iPhone lineup, it is reported that 70 percent of the orders for the modem has gone to Intel, with Qualcomm supplying the rest. This year, Intel has developed a modem that supports both GSM and CDMA networks and offers gigabit LTE download speeds. However, due to yield issues, it was unable to secure the order to supply chips to Apple for its entire 2018 iPhone lineup.

Even if MediaTek comes out with an impressive baseband, it is unlikely that we will see Apple rely solely on it for its modem requirements. Instead, the company will likely place a small set of order to MediaTek first and then eventually increase its reliance on them and reduce it on its existing suppliers. If MediaTek ends up joining Apple’s supply chain, it paves the way for Apple to completely remove its reliance on Qualcomm for its modem requirements.

Our Take

It remains to be seen how MediaTek’s modem will perform in real-world when compared to a similar baseband from Qualcomm and Intel. Testing had shown that the Qualcomm modem used in previous iPhones was far superior to that of the one supplied by Intel. MediaTek chips are primarily used by Android OEMs in their budget devices so if the company ends up making its way to Apple’s supply chain, it would be a huge win for it.

[Via Bloomberg]