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Qualcomm can now sell (some) smartphone chips to HUAWEI

Unfortunately Qualcomm can only sell some 4G chips to HUAWEI.

Published onNovember 16, 2020

Qualcomm at CES 2019.


  • Qualcomm has reportedly confirmed that it can supply some chips to HUAWEI.
  • The firm is only allowed to supply 4G processors to the Chinese brand.


We first heard murmurings last week that Qualcomm received a license to supply some smartphone processors to HUAWEI. Unfortunately, both parties refused to comment on the report at the time when asked by Android Authority.

Now, Qualcomm has confirmed to Reuters that it has indeed received a green light to sell mobile chips to the Chinese brand. But there is a big caveat attached to the license though, as the US chipmaker is only allowed to sell 4G chips to the firm.

“We received a license for a number of products, which includes some 4G products,” a Qualcomm spokesperson was quoted as saying by the newswire. The representative confirmed that the 4G products were related to mobile devices and added that Qualcomm still had more license applications pending approval.

What does this mean for HUAWEI?

There’s no word on the specific 4G processors Qualcomm is able to sell to Huawei, but it could still help the Chinese brand beef up its portfolio of phones.

HUAWEI is no stranger to Qualcomm chipsets, having used them in its low-end and mid-range smartphones before the US trade ban. So we’d expect the Chinese manufacturer to take the same approach this time. After all, HUAWEI’s chip manufacturing partners such as TSMC have been barred from dealing with the firm, meaning that it can no longer manufacture its in-house Kirin processors.

It’s unclear what this latest development means for the firm’s flagship phones though, which have used 5G-enabled Kirin processors for a while now. HUAWEI previously confirmed that the Mate 40 series will be the last flagship powered by a Kirin chipset. So presumably the firm will need to either use stockpiled MediaTek chips or turn to Qualcomm’s less capable 4G chips if it wants to release flagships in 2021.

In any event, this latest news still means HUAWEI might be on the back foot in 2021, as 5G networks continue to pop up and phones drop in price.

Next: HUAWEI buyer’s guide — Everything you need to know

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