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(Pocket-lint) - We knew previously that Apple had considered buying 5G modems from someone other than Intel - and now Huawei is rumoured to be "open" to selling 5G modems to Apple so it can ship a 5G iPhone in 2020.

That's according to a source that Engadget spoke to. It would, however, be at odds with Huawei's previous protestations that it doesn't make modems for anybody else. 

The short version of the backstory here is that Apple used to use Qualcomm modems. But Apple and Qualcomm fell out (multiple times) so Intel has stepped in to provide its modem parts to Apple for the last couple of generations of iPhone. 

However, Intel is behind Qualcomm, Samsung and Huawei when it comes to having 5G-enabled phones out in the wild. We don't think Apple would have switched a new iPhone over to 5G until 2020 anyway, but a recent report from Fast Company suggested that things aren't going to plan.

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Intel had previously said that its XMM 8160 5G modem would be ready at the end of 2019. But will it be ready to ship in large volume next year?

We know that Apple's own testimony in court that it had previously considered moving away from Intel to supply 5G parts. 

There is another element to this dynamic, however, and that is that Huawei is struggling to be accepted in the United States because of opposition in the US Government to the adoption of its 5G network equipment and accusations of wrongdoing.

Could Huawei see supplying 5G modems to Apple as a way to claw back its image in the US? 

The US Government has not managed to get other countries to follow its hard line. Instead, countries like the UK are attempting to get reassurances over security concerns instead. Will the US also follow suit? 

Writing by Dan Grabham. Originally published on 9 April 2019.