Intel gets out of the 5G smartphone modem business

While much of Silicon Valley readies its smartphone technology for 5G networks, Intel is getting out of the business.

Intel announced Tuesday that it will no longer make 5G modems for smartphones. Instead it plans to determine whether it should make 4G and 5G modems for PCs and other internet-connected devices.

Bob Swan, Intel’s CEO, said in a news release that there was “no clear path to profitability and positive returns” for the smartphone modem business.

“5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property,” Swan said. “We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”

The company said it will keep its investment in its 5G infrastructure business.

5G is a wireless network connection that will be up to 100 times faster than 4G. That’s enough to stream “8K” video or download a 3D movie in 3 seconds. (On 4G, it would take six minutes.) 5G’s extra bandwidth will make service more reliable, allowing more gadgets to connect to the network at the same time.

The announcement comes on the heels of Apple and chipmaker Qualcomm agreeing to dismiss all litigation between the two companies. The settlement included an unspecified payment from Apple to Qualcomm, and the companies will still work together.

One of Qualcomm’s products includes the Snapdragon X50 5G modem, which the company says is designed to support 5G networks.