First in networking gear, second in phones, Huawei is now looking to capture the 5G chipset market

First in networking gear, second in phones, Huawei is now looking to capture the 5G chipset market
While Huawei and 70 of its affiliated companies now need U.S. government approval to buy parts from the U.S., the company doesn't have to worry about accessing SoCs from San Diego based Qualcomm. That's because Huawei designs its own chips for the firm's high-end handsets. The next such chip, the Hi-Silicon Kirin 985, is due out in the second half of this year. According to Digitimes, the Kirin 985 is designed for Huawei's 4G LTE phones. However, the chip can be outfitted with Huawei's own Balong 5G modem; this will allow phones powered by the Kirin 985 to connect to mobile 5G sub 6GHz networks.

The Kirin 985 chipset with the 5G Balong modem will first appear on the Huawei Mate 30 line due out in the fourth quarter of this year. The chip will be manufactured by TSMC using the 7nm+ mode, with trial production runs scheduled for this quarter. By the third quarter of this year, the Kirin 985 should be rolling off of TSMC's assembly lines in volume.

Following the release of the Kirin 985, Huawei is expected to introduce 5G SoCs that come with an integrated 5G modem. These chips are expected to roll out sometime between late 2019 and early 2020. Early next year, Huawei is also planning on offering chips that will be used on smartphones supporting mmWave 5G connectivity. The latter uses very high-frequency radio signals in the 24GHz to 90GHz range. While mmWave 5G speeds could be faster than those achieved over sub 6GHz airwaves, the wavelengths are shorter. As a result, it will take less time to build out a nationwide 5G network using sub 6GHz. This is why T-Mobile expects to be first in the states with a coast-to-coast 5G platform next year using sub 6GHz only.

According to sources cited by Digitimes, Huawei's Hi-Silicon unit plans to compete with Qualcomm to become one of the top two suppliers of 5G SoCs to phone manufacturers. The report notes that MediaTek will have a 5G chipset for sub 6GHz smartphones before the end of this year. It also expects Apple to design a 5G SoC in time for the launch of the 2020 iPhone models.

Huawei offered to sell Apple its 5G Balong modem chips last month


Huawei's road map is not unique. Other global chip designers are said to be creating chipsets for mobile devices that can be produced with a 4G or 5G modem chip as the slow migration from 4G to 5G begins. These firms will start offering 5G SoCs with integrated 5G modem chips as well as chips supporting mmWave 5G next year.

The Huawei Mate X will be the company's first 5G phone and will use a Kirin 980 SoC with a 5G modem chip

The Huawei Mate X will be the company's first 5G phone and will use a Kirin 980 SoC with a 5G modem chip


Interestingly, Huawei offered to sell Apple its Balong 5G modem chip last month. This came at a time when Apple was unsure about which company it would source the component from. Due to its legal battles with Qualcomm, Apple appeared committed to using 5G modem chips that were being developed by Intel. Still, there were questions about whether Intel could deliver them in time for a 2020 launch, which led Apple to talk with Samsung and MediaTek. Finally, the company reached a settlement with Qualcomm that included a multi-year supply deal for the chipmaker's 5G smartphone modem.

Huawei's first 5G phone, barring any Galaxy Fold-like delays, will be the Mate X. This is a foldable phone that folds out instead of in like Samsung's device does. The Mate X will use the same Kirin 980 SoC found on the current P30 line but will include a 5G Balong 5000 modem chip. The $2,600 device will probably not be seen in the U.S. since President Trump is expected to sign an order soon that will ban Huawei products from entering the states.

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5 Comments

1. oldskool50

Posts: 769; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

Alan. You claimed in your last article, that Apple could buy chips from an unlikely source, which you stated was Huawei. Now you are claiming Huawei tried to sell chips to Apple. it is a complete an total lie -https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/16/huawei-no-talks-w​ith-apple-about-selling-it-5g-chips-for-iphones.ht​ml Huawei has flat out stated, they have NEVER spoken with Apple about selling chips, but the CEO says he would be "open" to it. Which were his exact wordings. Considering that Huawei is being banned from the US, the chances for talks to have taken place, is completely unlikely. Because if iPhone's had Huawei chips in them, they would be banned from US market. Do you think Apple is that stupid? Desperate? well they most certainly were desperate. And even though Apple is stupid, like suing Qualcomm for no reason, they wouldn't even try to make this move at all. If Huawei actually offered Apple chips, I want to see the link to the source for that info. I know you won't find such because Huawei flat out stated back in April they have never talked to Apple. In fact Huawei stated this just days after you wrote your contaminated article. Apple most certainly spoke with Samsung. Samsung said they could not do a run for the amount of chips Apple would have needed, as they had limited supply for their own phones. MediaTek, doesn't have the manufacturing capability to meet an order for Apple period. Qualcomm doesn't make chips. They design them in-house and then source out fabrication to TSMC and/or Samsung. Huawei has been under fire from the US since late last year, so it was highly unlikely Apple ever spoke to Huawei and the CEO stated as of that link, they had not spoken to Apple and I see no reason why they would need to lie. However, I definitely would see a need for you do do so and you keep doing it, even though someone posted in your last article, Huawei usually doesn't sell its IP to anyone. Their IP is inside their devices. and even though Huawei says they are open to providing Apple with a chip, we have no idea what kind of production capability Huawei has. Because the ONLY company I know that has production capabilities similar to Samsung is TSMC.

5. BuffaloSouce

Posts: 1238; Member since: May 01, 2017

Instead of a writing a whole essay about you crying, go get you news somewhere else if it's it that big of an issue. Oh that's right, here and BGR are the only place to put up with dumb trolling

2. oldskool50

Posts: 769; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

if you do a Google search of both news stories and videos, ALL OF THEM say that Huawei CEO says they were open to only selling chips to Apple. Because they usually don't sell chips directly to an OEM. Their chips are only in their phones or in their networking equipment. Huawei has always been secretive of their IP and they don't sell chips to other outfits. This would have been a one time deal with Apple. Their modem is inside their SoC. It is not sold as an independent chipset like Qualcomm does. This is why Apple has to pay Qualcomm extra for models. because Qualcomm's own modem is included inside all their SoC's. To have the modem fabricated as a single chip, it requires Qualcomm to pay someone to fabricate them separately; which could be impossible depending on when an order was placed. Please stop making stuff up. You sound like Donald Trump. Donald trump claimed the Chinese tariff's would fill the US Treasury coffers with over $500B in cash. It was a lie, because only importers pay these fees. The Govt doesn't even get direct access to this money, because its not the Govt who is having this stuff shipped over here. Please don't be like him. If you wanna be a Apple fan, then be my guess. But fact checking is so easy. if you don't even fact check your own stuff, why should we ever take you seriously. Journalism 101 = Fact Check Honestly is the best policy. We don't like fake news!!!

3. Alan01

Posts: 578; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

If you two read the story, I wrote that this was according to Digitimes' sources. Secondly, Huawei has done a great job selling phones without a large US share. So do I think they can compete in chips? Absolutely. Alan

4. oldskool50

Posts: 769; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

But making chips for your own phones, is still not the same as making them for someone else. Since Huawei nor.ally doesn't sell chips to other outfits other than SoC's, I wont justvassume they can make them for an OEM that has production runs similar to Apple. Even Samsung and TSMC can o ly handle so many OEMs at a time. How many phones does Huawei sell? More than Apple. So Huawei would have to make 200M+ for their own phones and then provide Apple with at least half that many? I check Digitimes just now. I still dont see it. But Huawei has already stated they have not spoken to Apple. How reliable is Digitimes? I will just leave it at, the best word is coming the horses mouth. The horse said they are open to selling Apple chip, but they have not spoken. I see no reason for Huawei to lie. The US? Most definitely!!!!!

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