Huawei has enough semiconductor chips used in telecom base stations in its inventory to last years, TheElec has learned.
Due to this, US sanctions will have only limited impact on the business compared to its smartphone operation that has recently halted the development of their own application processors, people knowledgeable on the matter said.
Huawei had already secured enough volume of semiconductors for its business-to-business operations since last year, the people said. And these chips for base stations have a longer production cycle compared to those used in smartphones, they said.
Huawei was a major supplier of 4G and 5G base stations to South Korean telco LG Uplus.
UD Department of Commerce added Huawei and its 70 affiliates to its entity list of companies that need the US government’s approval to gain access to US technology in May. This measure prevents Taiwan’s TSMC from producing chips ordered by HiSilicon, a subsidiary of Huawei that designs processors. TSMC will likely halted production of Huawei ordered chips by September 15.
Last month, the Chinese tech giant seemed to confirm this as it said it will no longer be able to produce Kirin 9000 processors that was suppose to power the Mate 40 smartphone starting in September 15. It will be the last chip in the Kirin series, the company has said.
In January of 2019, Huawei announced the Tiangang core chip-set for 5G base stations. It supports 3.5GHz and 2.6GHz spectrum.
Tiangang is made by TSMC using the 7-nanometer process. TSMC started production for the chips in 2018, before Huawei’s announcement, the people said. Huawei had a year and a half to stock up on Tiangang before US sanctions, they said.
Chip sets in base stations are more focused on reliability and stability as they are used in outdoor settings, the people said. The chips are used for a long time through software update before being changed, they added.