Apple is quietly working on a solution for its reliance on third parties when it comes to the cellular modem chips of its iPhones. 

The Information revealed in a paywalled report published Wednesday that the Cupertino giant is developing its own cellular modem. The news outlet got the idea after stumbling upon a job listing from Apple (AAPL) that’s looking for a cellular modem systems architect who is available to work in its San Diego office. 

A person familiar with Apple’s plans also confirmed to the outlet that the tech giant is indeed actively working on a project that aims to build cellular modem chips. Apple’s modem is said to be designed to connect iPhones to the networks of different wireless carriers. 

Apple has engineers working on the modem project close to its Northern California headquarters. Meanwhile, its San Diego facility houses its growing Wireless Architecture team. 

While Apple’s latest job listing is fairly new, it’s no secret that the company has been keen on developing its own cellular modem for years now. Back in 2014, the iPhone maker recruited around 30 mid- and senior-level radio frequency engineers from Qualcomm and Broadcom, as pointed out by Apple Insider

Information available about people involved the project also strongly suggests Apple’s intention to launch its own modem in the near future. Bernd Adler ad Esin Terzioglu are cited as executives for the project. The former used to be part of Intel’s modem team, while the latter used to be Qualcomm’s vice president and is currently Apple’s wireless chip head. 

Nevertheless, it could take three years before Apple’s wireless modem becomes available for use due to the complexity of the project. Apple is currently rumored to debut its first 5G-ready iPhone in 2020 and that model is expected to come with an Intel modem. Hence, Apple could  start adopting its own modem in 2021, according to MacRumors

The news comes amid Apple’s ongoing battle with Qualcomm, which used to be the modem suppliers for previous generation iPhones. Apple has since shifted to Intel for the supply of modems for its new iPhones. With the ongoing project, Apple could soon eliminate its dependence on third parties for its iPhone cellular modems. 

Apple Apple is building its own cellular modem chips for its future iPhones. Photo: Getty Images/Nicolas Asfouri