Qualcomm faces EU probe over supply of radio frequency chips

Qualcomm has revealed that the European Union is investigating whether the chipset supplier engaged in anti-competitive behavior by leveraging its market position in 5G modem chips in the radio frequency chip market.
Qualcomm 5G chipsetQualcomm supplies modem chips or baseband processors that connect smartphones to data networks.

The company is expanding into a related field called radio frequency front-end chips, which have become more complex in smartphones that use 5G networks.

Qualcomm is trying to win deals from global phone makers to sell its radio frequency chips, together with its own modem chips, rather than selecting parts from separate vendors and integrating them, Reuters reported.

Other major suppliers of radio frequency chips are Broadcom, Skyworks Solutions and Qorvo.

Qualcomm executives said on Wednesday that revenue from the radio frequency market contributed to a sales forecast that beat analyst expectations.

Qualcomm in Wednesday’s filing said it is in the process of responding to a probe by the European Commission, after it served a request for information with the company on December 3.

Qualcomm said the commission could impose a fine of up to 10 percent of its annual revenue if a violation were found.

Qualcomm was fined 242 million euros by the European Commission in July last year for blocking a rival from the market about a decade ago. The Commission had fined Qualcomm 997 million euros during 2018 for paying iPhone maker Apple to use only its chips, a tactic aimed at thwarting rivals including Intel.

Qualcomm has won radio frequency chip deals from Samsung Electronics, Alphabet’s Google and LG Electronics, among others.