China's Huawei Technologies said on Tuesday it has not held talks with Apple Inc about supplying 5G chipsets, a day after its founder said it was open to selling such chips to the US firm which has yet to unveil dates for a next-gen iPhone.
Apple is behind rivals such as South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co and Huawei in delivering a phone equipped with fifth-generation (5G) modems that is expected to provide fresh momentum in a slumping global smartphone market.
Intel Corp, the sole supplier of modem chips for iPhones, has said its 5G chips will not appear in mobile phones until 2020, raising the possibility that Apple, its biggest customer, will be more than a year behind rivals in delivering a device that uses the faster 5G networks.
Samsung started selling 5G phones in South Korea this month ahead of the global introduction of 5G networks, and Huawei, whose smartphones outsold iPhones in the fourth quarter, plans to launch a 5G phone in June.
“We have not had discussions with Apple on this issue,” Huawei's rotating Chairman Ken Hu said on Tuesday, adding he looked forward to Apple's competition in the 5G phone market.
His comment comes a day after CNBC published here an interview with Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei that the firm was "open" to selling its 5G chips to Apple.
Uncertainty over the availability of a 5G-equipped iPhone has weighed on the world's most valuable company - at $939 billion - as rivals unveil products such as foldable phones in a bid to revive stalling smartphone sales.
Brokerage UBS earlier this month said Apple, also battling falling iPhone sales, is increasingly in jeopardy of being unable to ship a 5G iPhone in 2020 which could cause near-term headwind for the company.
Apple held talks with Samsung, Intel and Taiwan's MediaTek Inc to supply 5G modem chips for 2019 iPhones, according to an Apple executive's testimony at a trial between Qualcomm Inc and the US Federal Trade Commission earlier this year.