Intel said on Tuesday it was exiting the 5G smartphone modem business, while assessing opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices.
Intel said it would continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but does not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020.
“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”
Intel's decision comes after its one significant customer, Apple, said it will return to using Qualcomm chips.
Intel has struggled to win customers as the phone market eclipsed the personal computer industry in volume, and smartphones became more like computers. Before combining the mobile business into its PC chip division, the company reported billion-dollar losses as it paid out subsidies to try to woo phone and tablet makers.