Phone dispute settled

Phone dispute settled
Ericsson and Qualcomm agree to cross license technology; Ericsson buys Qualcomm US wireless business. Richard Ball The dispute between Ericsson and US firm Qualcomm over critical mobile phone technology has been settled, ending over two years of legal wrangling. The two firms have agreed to cross license each other’s technology. In addition, Ericsson has bought Qualcomm’s wireless infrastructure business and R&D centre in the US. Qualcomm will now concentrate on making handsets and chipsets. Both firms hold patents relating to code division multiple access (CDMA), a key technology for third generation mobile phones. Neither firm was willing to license its patents to the other as part of the drive to create a global standard for third generation phones. However, the deal does not necessarily mean the emergence of a single global standard for next generation phones. The most recent meeting of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) resulted in the adoption of a single standard, but with multiple access methods. It seems likely that Europe will use wideband-CDMA, originally developed by Ericsson, while the US will use CDMA2000, a Qualcomm development. Japan may use a mixture of both standards. Time division multiple access will also be used in various parts of the world. Initially at least, third generation mobiles will only work with one of the interface protocols. A recent report from research firm Forward Concepts suggests that worldwide roaming will not be possible until 2005. Ericsson’s buyout of Qualcomm’s R&D division means that it can now create phones and infrastructure for a variety of mobile protocols. This will open up the lucrative US market for Ericsson. China goes for CDMA2000?
CDMA2000 mobile phone standard is reported to have been approved by China in preference to the European W-CDMA standard. According to the South China Morning Post, an official announcement is expected when the Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji visits the US next month. Qualcomm, the US CDMA wireless specialist company, said it had heard conflicting reports regarding China’s decision and did not want to comment.

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