Japanese Combine To Take On Qualcomm

Qualcomm is to get some heavyweight competition with Samsung, Panasonic, Fujitsu and NEC getting together with operator NTT DoCoMo to develop LTE ICs for smartphones.

It is said that DoCoMo will chip in half the $309 million capital cost of the project. DoCoMo is said to be investing $4 billion over three years in its LTE plans.

Discussions about the joint venture are still ongoing, says Japan’s Nikkei newspaper, but the target date for forming the joint venture is early next year.


The speculation is that the companies are concerned about the growing influence of Qualcomm over the supply of wireless ICs, and the increasing influence of the US.

Qualcomm has an 80% share of the smartphone baseband IC market. Last year, Intel bought another baseband supplier, Infineon.


A potential rival to Qualcomm, ST-Ericsson, has seen its market share decline, its debts increase and its new product lines delayed since being formed in 2009 from the wireless activities of STMicroelectronics, Ericsson and NXP.



  1. Time to buy sell Qualcomm shares 🙂

  2. Well competition is good – but this set of competitors is rather late to market, by the time they get there – if they get there, Qualcomm will have a strong market momentum in device level LTE baseband IC’s. Its a bit surprising really when it has been clear for so long LTE will be the unifying 4G wierless standard globally.
    That said – as even Qualcomm has admitted – the ability to squeeze more MIPS out of multicore is a fast diminishing returns game – so differentiation will be integration at the IC level and software at the system level – so that gives hope for an IC compeititor o the integration side – but can they catch up on the Qualcomm system sw side?

  3. There certainly has been a lot of stumbling in the attempts to follow QCOM into smartphone processors.
    It seems like we are back to the equivalent of the mid 90’s PC market when the advice was always to buy the very fastest because otherwise it would be obsolete before you got it out of the box.
    For smartphone chipsets MTK and their ilk are looking at the problem as a logical task, and devising ways to complete the “TASK” (multiple cores, dedicated MM engines etc) but the customer just wants a warm fuzzy feeling that he has excess MIPS ready for the next whim to come down the pipe.
    MTK’s offering does not say 1.2Ghz cortex core, so whatever they say about multi core equivalence and tasks/Watt it sounds like an excuse. After all everyone knows it is raw MIPS that you need on a smartphone.
    From what I hear there have been a few multi core smartphone chipset cancellations and the smartmoney has decided to beat QCOM at the MIPS game. It will be interesting to see if QCOM can stay ahead of the pack.

  4. Time to buy some Qualcomm shares

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