Qualcomm nabs 5G design win with 'leading automaker'

Qualcomm continues to tout its progress in the 5G space, and as evidence CEO Steven Mollenkopf announced the company has “secured the world's first major 5G design win with a leading automaker, and we are working with numerous other automakers and Tier 1 suppliers to bring 5G to vehicles.”

Continued Mollenkopf: “Infotainment is a particularly strong story for us given our very strong long-term order pipeline with a broad set of key global customers.”

Mollenkopf discussed Qualcomm’s new automotive customer and the company’s 5G business during his company’s quarterly conference call with analysts, and his statements were outlined in a Seeking Alpha transcript of the event.

“Just as 5G launch dates were accelerated by one year from the original timeline, we also expect the pace of 5G adoption to meet or exceed that of 4G,” Mollenkopf said. “5G brings an order of magnitude increase of complexity over 4G across spectrum, network dark architecture, RF front-end, device form factors, especially the millimeter wave frequencies, power consumption and application and AI processors. This complexity plays directly to Qualcomm's strength as an innovator and systems provider.”

A company representative confirmed that Qualcomm has not previously disclosed the 5G automotive design win, but declined to provide any further details on the news, including the identity of the automaker.

Qualcomm for years has been working to woo automotive customers. For example, Qualcomm and Ford recently announced plans to deploy C-V2X technology in Ford vehicles this year.

Further, the wireless industry in general has been hoping that 5G technology will spread into a wide range of devices beyond phones, and has targeted the automotive industry specifically as a growth area considering the super-fast wireless technology could aid automakers in their quest to build self-driving cars. Thus, Qualcomm's announcement provides at least some evidence that automotive companies might be receptive to 5G.

However, Mollenkopf’s 5G boasting was tempered by the details of Qualcomm’s quarterly finances. Although the company exceeded most expectations in terms of its quarterly revenues and profits, the company’s financial forecast dragged on the company’s ongoing dispute with iPhone maker Apple and a general slowdown in the overall smartphone market.

Indeed, Qualcomm has had an eventful 2018, with President Trump intervening in Broadcom’s attempted hostile takeover of the company, embarking on a significant round of layoffs, and ultimately ending years of efforts to acquire NXP.

But Qualcomm officials said that the company’s overall financial footing is solidifying, and that it expects sales of 5G products to bolster its situation.