Qualcomm gets U.S. govt licence to supply Huawei with 4G chips

Ruben Fields
November 16, 2020

Should Google for example be allowed to, it would mean that some of Huawei's newer devices sporting HMS could have access to the full Android ecosystem and Google apps.

As the trade war between the U.S. and China erupted, many had speculated that Huawei would either start making their own chipset, or get them from a national supplier. Intel also said that it has a license to sell to Huawei. But the license was going to be limited to chips made using the 28nm process node and up. Huawei is in dire straits as US sanctions have cut-off a majority of its chip supply.

Qualcomm has received a license from the USA government to sell 4G mobile phone chips to Huawei, despite sanctions. But once again there is a caveat. But now, Huawei has to rely on Qualcomm as it has got the permission from the United States government to supply 4G products to the Chinese smartphone giant. On the other hand, Huawei has stated that it's willing to work with Qualcomm as long as the U.S. government allows it.

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Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business unit said in August that "this year may be the last generation of Huawei Kirin high-end chips". But unless the US reverts back to its old export rules, TSMC will continue to be blocked from shipping chips to Huawei without obtaining a license. Industry analysts believe Huawei's stockpile of chips purchased before the ban could run out early next year, crippling its smart phone business. It is unclear as of now whether Qualcomm will also be able to sell 5G chips that are a requirement in newer devices, or only the 4G chips would be sold. The American company didn't say which chips were allowed, although the 4G nature makes clear these aren't the company's higher-end, 5G-equipped modems or processors. Huawei and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce declined to comment.

USA pressure undoubtedly also convinced the United Kingdom to also ban Huawei 5G equipment, too. Even though its devices can not be purchased in the states through official channels, the company is the world's second-largest phone manufacturer.

Other U.S. companies such as Micron Technology Inc were also stopped from selling to Huawei and have said they have applied for licenses.

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