Apple considered Samsung and MediaTek for 5G modems in 2019 iPhones

Apple has considered the possibility of using modems from Samsung and MediaTek in its future 2019 iPhones, according to an Apple executive’s testimony at a trial between Qualcomm and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Friday.

Advised in antitrust trial testimony on Friday, Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins confirmed Apple had looked towards other rival modem suppliers as potential sources of modems, Reuters reports. It was not revealed if one or both companies had the prospect of becoming a supplier, nor what proportion of modems they would supply alongside Intel.

The admission suggested Apple is fine with the idea of allowing multiple suppliers to provide modems for iPhones, which would be a return to form for the company. In 2016, Apple moved from Qualcomm as the only supplier to having Intel as a secondary option, but by 2018, Apple had instead moved entirely to Intel, freezing Qualcomm out of the supply chain for that specific component.

Blevins said that talking with Samsung, whose Galaxy and Note devices compete against the iPhone, is “not an ideal environment” for Apple, but that Samsung is currently the largest component supplier to Apple.

Blevins did not say whether Apple had reached a decision on a 5G modem supplier or whether it would release a 5G iPhone in 2019. Citing sources, Bloomberg previously reported that Apple would not release such a phone until 2020.