Some 150 Israeli workers of Intel Corp. are at risk of losing their jobs as part of the US tech giant’s announcement last month that it will exit its 5G smartphone modem business, sources at Intel said, confirming an earlier report in Calcalist.
The sources said that no action has been taken yet about the layoffs.
In April, Intel’s newly appointed CEO Bob Swan said Intel had decided to exit the 5G smartphone modem business because “it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns.”
“5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property,” he said. “We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world,”
5g smartphone modems are modems for smartphones that operate with 5G cellular network technology. 5G is the next generation of networking systems that promises 100 to 1,000 times the speed of earlier generations of networks.
As a result of Intel’s new strategy, thousands of employees globally will be affected, including those who work in the field in Israel, Calcalist reported, saying that the firm was mulling two options: either selling off the 5G smartphone modem business or closing its activities and firing its workers.
Intel said in a statement in Hebrew: “In a letter released on April 16 by CEO Bob Swan, he announced that Intel would exit its 5G smartphone modem business and focus its development activities on other opportunities in the world of data. 5G activities as well as other wireless activities such as WiFi and Bluetooth continue to be important.
“Changes in high-tech and project cancellations are commonplace, Intel will know how to handle all of its employees professionally and fairly, and as in the past will place emphasis on finding them the right and challenging roles in Intel’s various activities in Israel.”
Intel employs 12,000 workers in Israel, making it the largest private sector employer in the high-tech industry. The firm has a manufacturing plant in Kiryat Gat and R&D centers in Jerusalem, Petah Tikva and Haifa, and acquired self-driving technology maker Mobileye in 2017.