Apple's retail rent must have recently incresed in price..!
Well, Apple doesn't pass any savings onto its customers from using less expensive chips. Adding to this, it seems that telecom companies in Europe are waiting for the US to launch 5G networks first; see what adoption levels are like. So when Intel bought Germany-based Infineon, when Qualcomm was funding into many Linux-foundation projects like AllJoyn. It's actually very interesting to see Apple holding press events for new "kits" and copying everything Qualcomm was actively investing into.
So in the US, Today's iPhone 7 featuring more expensive chips on Sprint/Verizon cost the same as an iPhone 7 using the commodity low-quality Intel/Infineon chips. In addition to that, when Qualcomm found a way to more efficiently send data over the air, (freeing up time/space for more customers) Apple took the opposite approach and slowed down the chip so that Apple's devices are less efficient in sending data. That adds protocol overhead.
I think its odd no one has pointed out the royalty amount is a function of the selling price, and Apple is in complete control of product sale prices. There's an article in MacWorld Magazine titled "How Apple Sets Its Prices" by Marco Tabini. In the article, Apple restricts what can be sold and at what price. Apple resellers can't set their price without Apple's permission; Apple will perform audits and secret shopping to ensure prices are set at the price Apple needs to collect so it can pay for prime retail space at locations like Grand Central Station, Carousel du Louvre (in Paris), Regent Street, Berlin. When you have a retail presence in places like these, you need to pocket all the change you can find for a rainy day.