Qualcomm has announced 5G networking chips for a range of applications beyond smartphones, aiming to bolster a business that has lost Apple as a major customer and faces unprecedented levels of competition.
San Diego-based Qualcomm, which has a substantial presence at Mahon in Cork where it employs around 100, is the world’s biggest supplier of mobile phone chips.
It has told investors it expects a big boost from 5G networks, which will start rolling out this year and feature higher speeds than current 4G networks.
Qualcomm chips will supply the 5G connectivity in devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Fold smartphone.
But Qualcomm faces challenges in its mobile chip business, with Apple selecting Intel alone to connect its iPhones released last year to mobile data networks.
MediaTek, Samsung and Huawei have all announced plans to make 5G chips, with Samsung and Huawei both planning to use the chips in some models of their own phones, eating into potential business for Qualcomm.
At the Mobile World Congress event in Spain, Qualcomm announced its plans to get its 5G chips into other markets beyond phones.
Qualcomm said it is working with Japanese e-commerce retailer Rakuten’s mobile division to supply 5G chips for networking gear the retailer is rolling out in Japan.
The firm also has a new chip for personal computers that would connect them to 5G networks, building on Qualcomm’s earlier efforts to attack rival Intel in its core market of processors.
It also announced chips for so-called 5G fixed wireless stations, which carriers such as Verizon are hoping could become speedy enough to replace home broadband connections that many consumers in the US get from their cable operators.
Qualcomm further announced a new set of chips aimed at automakers.
Its existing chips help cars connect to the internet, but the 5G chips are expected to connect cars to other vehicles on the road as well as objects such as traffic signs and signals as vehicles gain new levels of autonomous navigation.
Shares in the firm rose remained largely unchanged.