What happened: Huawei is reportedly “open” to selling its 5G Balong 5000 chipsets, but only to its rival Apple. The chipset is said to be the world’s first 5G modem that fully supports interoperability over 5G networks built on 4G infrastructure and dedicated 5G equipment. Chinese media reported Tuesday that Huawei refused to comment on the issue and a Huawei chip business insider said that this might be Apple’s “wishful thinking.”
Why it’s important: Following its feud with Qualcomm, a leader in 5G-enabled chips, Apple will not be able to offer a 5G iPhone until 2020 should be unable to find a ready supply of modems. Apple’s new supplier Intel won’t have chips available in time to support the 2019 release of 5G iPhones. Meanwhile, Samsung turned down Apple’s request to supply its 5G modem chip, with the South Korean smartphone giant saying that the supply volume was insufficient. As a result, Huawei has become one of the few options left for Apple. The Balong 5000 is “already available” to support Huawei’s 5G phones—the Mate 20X and the foldable Mate X—that will launch this summer, according to Huawei’s announcement from this year’s Mobile World Congress.