Huawei phones currently offer 4G only connectivity but the situation will change this year, as it is preparing to regain 5G access with upcoming smartphones. The latest input is coming from Reuters citing sources from a Chinese research firm and supply chain insiders.
According to the information, Huawei will bring 5G smartphones late this year using the chipset solutions produced inside China. This achievement is combined with Huawei’s own advances in semiconductor design tools and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co (SMIC).
A research firm said that it expected Huawei to use SMIC’s N+1 manufacturing process, though with a forecast yield rate of usable chips below 50%, 5G shipments would be limited to around 2 million to 4 million units. A second firm estimated shipments could reach 10 million units.
Huawei now has EDA tools for chips above 14 nanometers (NM) technology. The report cites that SMIC will use Huawei’s EDA tools in order to print the N+1 chipset, which is equivalent to a 7nm node.
However, SMIC also faces US barriers to accessing various semiconductor technologies. Yet, analysts believe that SMIC will be able to print new chips by tweaking some of its technologies.
The report also cites that Huawei is actively printing 14nm chipsets for its 5G network products. Such chipsets are also usable for entry-level smartphones.
In 2019, Huawei shipped 240 million smartphones, reaching an all-time high. After the US restrictions, Huawei began to decline from 2020 onwards. Subsequently, it has been removed from all rankings due to a massive decline in numbers.
However, Huawei saw a slight increase in shipments in the first quarter of 2023. Gaining momentum, Huawei has increased the shipment target for this year.
China Securities Journal previously revealed that Huawei had raised its 2023 mobile shipment forecast to 40 million. This is an increase from 30 million at the start of the year.
The leaks and rumors of 5G Huawei phones is knocking on our doors since January this year, however, this report seems quite a big input to keep us excited.
Also, if Huawei chose to bring back 5G in its smartphone ecosystem, then it would be with the Huawei Mate 60 series. This flagship will be released somewhere in September or October. Still, we’re waiting for an official announcement on this matter.