Tests show iPhone 7 Plus models with Qualcomm modem perform significantly better than those with Intel modem

“Over the past five years, Apple’s modem supplier was Qualcomm, but this year, Apple has taken a different approach with the decision to source two instead of one baseband chipset suppliers: Qualcomm and Intel,” Cellular Insights reports. “This created two distinct RF SKUs, one limited to GSM/WCDMA/LTE support (A1778, A1784), powered by Intel’s modem, and one with GSM/CDMA/WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/LTE support (A1660, A1661) powered by Qualcomm’s modem.”

“EVS (Enhanced Voice Services), also known as Ultra HD Voice, offers significantly improved audio quality, numerous efficiencies at the physical and IP layer, and is fully supported by Qualcomm’s modem,” Cellular Insights reports. “However, Apple has made a decision to disable this feature likely to level the playing field between the Qualcomm, and Intel varaints.”

“The Intel XMM7360 modem… lacks support for EVS, DL-256QAM/UL-64QAM, 4×4 MIMO,” Cellular Insights reports. “Ironically, mobile operators such as T-Mobile USA and Telstra which have been offering these advanced LTE features, are being supplied with the iPhone 7 with the Intel modem.”

“This study has been done entirely independently, and Cellular Insights takes full responsibility for the analysis and opinions in this report. We have self-funded the procurement of iPhone 7 Plus units through commercial retail channels. All units have been preloaded with the latest version of iOS (10.0.3),” Cellular Insights reports. “In all tests, the iPhone 7 Plus with the Qualcomm modem had a significant performance edge over the iPhone 7 Plus with the Intel modem. We are not sure what was the main reason behind Apple’s decision to source two different modem suppliers for the newest iPhone. Considering that the iPhone with the Qualcomm modem is being sold in China, Japan and in the United States only, we can not imagine that modem performance was a deciding factor.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ladies and gentlemen, behold, we have our first real “-gate” of the iPhone 7 series.

Hello, Modem-gate!

It’s not quite as dramatic as Samsung’s exploding phones, but it’s vexing nonetheless.

As we wrote of iPhone 6s/Plus’ Chipgate, “If this isn’t FUD or a mistake by the testers, then this is like Ford selling a ‘Mustang’ with a welded hood. Some of them come with 5.2L V8 engines and some of them come with 3.7L V6 engines, but Ford just calls them both “Mustang Engines” and you don’t know which one you’ve got until you can get it to the mechanic to pry open the bonnet.’ …Customers should be satisfied they have the best of the best, Apple. This doesn’t seem like a satisfactory buying experience, Apple. Again, if these [modems] are really not that different, then Apple needs to issue a statement, with proof, ASAP.”

So, did you get a “good” iPhone 7 Plus or a “bad” one?

Thankfully, our 7 Plus units are all A1661 Qualcomm-equipped.

Chipgate: Did you get the good A9 or the crap A9 in your iPhone 6s/Plus? – October 8, 2015
Apple claims iPhone 6s/Plus’ A9 battery performance only varies 2-3% between TSMC and Samsung variants in “real-world usage – October 8, 2015
Samsung stole trade secrets from TSMC to win Apple A9 stamping deal – August 26, 2015
TSMC sues former ex-employee over leaking trade secrets to Samsung – February 9, 2015
TSMC overtakes Samsung in FinFET, confident they will land Apple A9 orders – October 7, 2014

How to find out if your iPhone 6s or 6s Plus has the good TSMC or crappy Samsung chip – October 9, 2015
Analyzing Apple’s statement on TSMC- and Samsung-stamped A9 chips – October 9, 2015
Apple may have made a huge mistake in having Samsung stamp inferior A9 chips – October 9, 2015
Apple claims iPhone 6s/Plus’ A9 battery performance only varies 2-3% between TSMC and Samsung variants in ‘real-world usage’ – October 8, 2015
Chipgate: Did you get the good A9 or the crap A9 in your iPhone 6s/Plus? – October 8, 2015


  1. What about the fact that both iPhone 7 versions (Qualcomm or Intel) performed worse than Android phones?

    I’m not an Android troll – I type this on my 6S Plus – I’m a disappointed Apple fan to see a Samsung phone (not the Note 7) consistently wiping the floor of the iPhone 7 in LTE performance.

    1. I think their methodology was flawed. Every time you see one of these studies that looks like it has an agenda to prove that one device is better than another, they shape evidence to suit their pre determined conclusion. Just like camera performance on the new pixel… pro photographer sites compared them and the iPhone’s camera is vastly superior in everything and can even compare favorably to a 2010 dslr, in some areas beating it. But the android promoter sites or “influencers” seem to be getting much different results simply because they don’t tell their viewers or readers that they put the pixel in optimum lighting conditions in every test and helped it whenever possible (it’s usually in an addendum at the end). Every unbiased review always favors apple’s cameras except for last year when the galaxy s7 used the same sensor as the iPhone 6s. Take t with a grain of salt.

  2. This is yet another invented “issue” my phone has an intel modem and the LTE performance is significantly better than the Qualcomm modem in my previous 6s. Now, I’m AT&T and their network in my area is excellent, so a comparison is kind of difficult since the network is so strong, but I average 57.8 Mbps down and 32.3 Mbps up on my iPhone 7 on the LTE network. On My 6s it’s 41.6 down and 26.6 up. I don’t know if this is a problem or not, or a network issue in the area they tested it or what. I find it amazing what kind of things institute a scandal for an Apple phone but there are endless apologies for exploding Samsung phones…. batshit crazy.

        1. Thanks. I’m new to all this as I just got my first iPhone (a 256GB 7+). It’s in a case I didn’t want to deal with removing, so I checked the box it came and the info is printed on the back of that. Got the Qualcomm model.

  3. Unbox Therapy did a test of the iPhone 7 differences with the 32GB and 256GB models, and there is a pretty big performance gap between the two. It’s always something.

  4. If you can pay full price for an iPhone, go to an Apple Store and buy the Verizon or Sprint version. It not only has the Qualcomm modem, it will work with literally any carrier. The AT&T and T Mobile versions won’t work on Verizon or Sprint, so for resale value if nothing else buy the universal phone.

    I use AT&T and don’t even have a Verizon account. Just popped in my AT&T SIM card and it just worked.

  5. This should not be. What possessed Apple to use Intel I wonder? I think Apple now has unlocked iPhone 7 in Apple Stores, right? We use T-Mobile now, but I’ll change companies in a NYC second if I find one better, and that I can have free unlimited data in Japan like T-Mobile has.

  6. In my opinion, people are making a mountain out of a molehill, creating drama and controversy where none is warranted. Most companies use multiple supplies for components in their supply chain, an those parts are not always identical.

    The fundamental question is, “Is your product (iPhone 7/7+ in this case) meeting the performance claims made by the vendor (Apple) at the time of its sale? If so, then you do not have any reason to gripe.

    Just for fun, answer this second question: “In the absence of articles identifying the two modem suppliers, would you have had any reason to question the functionality or performance of your iPhone? If not, then relax. It is a great phone and you will enjoy it for a couple of years.

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