It was in 2011 that Intel got into the wireless data business, after its acquisition of German modem maker Infineon. Since then, it is only iPhones that carry Intel modem chips to connect to mobile data networks.
Intel’s CEO, Robert Swan has identified 5G as its future, and certainly much faster than current 4G networks, extends beyond selling modems to phone makers. Now, Intel Corp has announced new chips and some new partnerships that will justify its massive investments in R&D for 5G networking technology. “Where investors have been most anxious is, we were catching up for a while. Catching up, in their minds, means not making any money,” Swan said at a press event in Palo Alto, California last week ahead of the Mobile World Congress conference being held in Spain this week. “Now we’re at a stage where we believe we have products that are as good as anybody in the industry’s as we move into 5G.”
Intel is also aiming to sell versions of its processors for use in 5G base stations, and said it has made deals with Ericsson and ZTE Corp to use Intel processors in their 5G networking gear. It also intends to sell 5G for the automotive industry.
The only drawback is that it’s a tough market and Intel has to contend with Qualcomm Inc. and MediaTek Inc, who operate on much lower margins, that Intel is used to.