Qualcomm LTE Modem in iPhone 7 Plus Beats Intel’s by 30% in Signal Strength Tests

Apple opted to use LTE modems from two different sources, Qualcomm and Intel, inside its iPhone 7 and iPhone Plus. As it comes out, the two LTE modems are not equal when it comes to network reception. A new research from Cellular Insights suggests that Apple iPhone 7 Plus devices with Intel modems provide significantly poorer internet connections compared to those running Qualcomm modems.

iPhone 7 Plus Intel LTE Modem Has Signal Strength Issues

For the past five years or so, Qualcomm has been the sole provider of modem technology on the Cupertino’s iPhone devices. In a bid to diversify its supply, Apple decided to bring Intel in to provide modems on this year’s iPhone 7 devices, and its decision has already caused some disappointment among customers.

Cellular Insights acquired a number of iPhone 7 Plus devices from different sources and conducted a series of cellular connectivity tests at different LTE bands: Band 12, Band 4, and Band 7. In all three tests, the various iPhone 7 Plus models offered similar performance under ideal conditions.

But, as the power levels decreased, the analyst firm noticed sharp dips in performance for the iPhone 7 Plus devices with the Intel modem, leaving Qualcomm to take a lead by no less than 30 per cent.

The chart shows that the Qualcomm modem maintains noticeable higher throughput speeds than its Intel counterpart as network conditions continue to reduce.


This suggests that Qualcomm’s LTE chips would offer substantially better performance in real world conditions where the cellular connection is weak.

How to Find out Which LTE Modem Your iPhone 7 Plus Has?

That being said, it’s pretty simple to determine which iPhone 7 model features which LTE modem, and it all comes down to model number.

Models Powered by Intel’s LTE Modem (GSM/WCDMA/LTE support)

  • A1778
  • A1784

Models Powered by Qualcomm’s LTE Modem (GSM/CDMA/WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/LTE support)

  • A1660
  • A1661

You can find the model number on the back of the iPhone, on the box, or using dedicated hardware information apps.

Only the iPhone 7 models sold in the United States, China and Japan feature Qualcomm modems, while the Intel version is available in the rest of the world. There are also some Intel variants in the US, but those can be found only at Verizon and AT&T.