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A new report reveals that Apple reached out to Samsung to be its 5G modem supplier. However, the South Korean company reportedly refused, saying its supply was insufficient.
Apple has been working for years to create and supply its own 5G modem in hopes of being autonomous from Qualcomm. However, the plan seems to be significantly failing, with earlier reports saying the chips tested were slow and prone to overheating. With this, the iPhone maker was forced to sign a 2026 extension deal with Qualcomm.
Prior to that, news website Hankyung reports that Apple asked Samsung to be the supplier of its 5G modem after the latter launched the first 5G smartphone in April 2019. According to the outlet, the Asian giant expressed reluctance, claiming its supply was insufficient for Apple’s needs. This reportedly caused the Cupertino giant to swallow its pride and return to Qualcomm.
In case this was pushed, nonetheless, this wouldn’t mean that Apple would be completely free from the shadows of Qualcomm. As the report points out, while Samsung develops its own 5G modem chips and is undeniably an alternative to Qualcomm, the company signed a mutual patent exchange agreement and pays the semiconductor giant royalties.
On a positive note, Samsung continues to flourish in its 5G modem works, which even resulted in the creation of “Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) non-terrestrial networks (NTN) ready next-generation 5G modem.” Apple, on the other hand, remains empty-handed in its 5G modem visions.
According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, sources and other individuals with knowledge about the issue believed Apple clearly underestimated the situation. Apple’s former engineers and executives described the issue as “largely of Apple’s own making,” adding the plan was a poor communication and technical challenges present as well. Even more, the report claims that managers are not united about the idea of Apple pushing to design its own chips instead of purchasing them. Jaydeep Ranade, a former Apple wireless director, said Apple must have thought it could build a modem just because of its silicon’s success.