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Nokia Deal to Boost Qualcomm’s Dominance in Mobile Handset Baseband Chips. Qualcomm takes 40.6 percent of market in Q4

Due to its recent agreement with Nokia, Qualcomm Inc. is likely to solidify its lead in the global market for mobile-handset baseband semiconductors, according to iSuppli Corp. Based on iSuppli’s preliminary estimate, Qualcomm in the fourth quarter accounted for 40.6 percent of worldwide revenue from shipments of mobile handset baseband semiconductors, up from 36.3 percent in the third quarter. Qualcomm expanded its lead over the No.-2 supplier, Texas Instruments Inc., to 20.9 percentage points, up from 14.1 points in the third quarter.

The attached table presents preliminary global revenue market share for the Top-6 suppliers of mobile handset baseband silicon in the third and fourth quarters of 2008.

Nokia and Qualcomm this month announced they will collaborate on the development of advanced UMTS mobile devices, initially for the North American market. For this effort, the companies will utilize Qualcomm’s 3G Mobile Station Modem (MSM) MSM7xxx-series and MSM8xxx-series chipsets that provide processing and mobile broadband capabilities.

“Until now, Nokia and Qualcomm have had frosty relations as they battled over intellectual property rights and royalty payments related to 3G technology,” said Francis Sideco, senior analyst, wireless communications, for iSuppli. “Furthermore, Nokia has used custom 3G silicon from Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) powerhouses, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.

However, with 3G technology maturing, there is less differentiation to be had from custom ASIC solutions, making Qualcomm’s standard silicon more attractive as it allows Nokia to focus on enhancing handset designs and service offerings to improve the consumer experience.

This can only be considered a positive development for Qualcomm’s position in mobile handset baseband semiconductors and another challenge to overcome for its competitors.”

Nokia now can adopt a complete Qualcomm solution for its 3G phones, including the modem, baseband and Radio Frequency segments, simplifying the design of such products, Sideco added. Furthermore, it will allow Nokia to concentrate more on consumer-oriented innovations like the user interface, services, applications and the industrial form factor. Furthermore, by adopting Qualcomm’s standard silicon, Nokia will be freed up to focus on design and Intellectual Property (IP) related to ASICs compatible with next-generation 4G standards.

Supplier diversification

Nokia’s deal with Qualcomm was predicted by iSuppli in October in a note to its clients, following the resolution of the companies’ legal issues.

With the Qualcomm announcement this month, Nokia has taken another step in its effort to diversify its supply base. From once mainly using Texas Instruments baseband silicon, Nokia over the years has added new suppliers, most notably STMicroelectronics, which recently formed a joint-venture with Ericsson dubbed ST-Ericsson. Nokia’s increased business helped then-STMicroelectronics increase its share of global broadband semiconductor revenue to 13.3 percent in 2008, up from 7 percent in 2007.

The company also has made increasing use of Broadcom silicon.

“Whether Qualcomm enjoys a major market share bump like STMicroelectronics due to this Nokia deal remains to be seen, but the company is likely to realize gains from finally being able to partner with the world’s largest mobile handset brand,” Sideco said.

 [February 27, 2009]


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  • Nokia Dials Up GPS Technology Leader Trimble for Intellectual Property Licensing Deal (October 2, 2006)
  • Nokia Collaborates With Microsoft on Mobile Search (September 21, 2006)
  • Motorola and Nokia to Cooperate on Mobile TV Interoperability (September 11, 2006)
  • Nokia to acquire Loudeye and launch a comprehensive mobile music experience (August 9, 2006)
  • Nokia Wins a 3G Network Expansion Contract From Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom (August 8, 2006)
  • Nokia Supports Proximus in Launching the First HSDPA Network in Belgium (July 6, 2006)
  • Nokia Decides Not to Go Forward With SANYO CDMA Partnership and Plans Broad Restructuring of its CDMA Business (June 23, 2006)
  • Nokia and Siemens to Merge Their Communications Service Provider Businesses (June 19, 2006)
  • Nokia and the MIT Celebrate the Opening of Nokia Research Center Cambridge (April 21, 2006)
  • Nokia Spurs Subscriber Growth in New Growth Markets with Mobility Solutions (March 30, 2006)
  • Nokia 6136 phone (February 19, 2006)
  • Nokia and Cable & Wireless Sign International Frame Agreement (February 16, 2006)
  • Nokia and MySQL Collaborate on Next Generation Telecommunication Subscriber Registers (February 14, 2006)
  • Other IT news about Qualcomm

  • Qualcomm and Ericsson Complete First Inter-company LTE Category 9 Carrier Aggregation Interoperability Testing (November 19, 2014)
  • Qualcomm Acquires Palm, IPAQ and Bitfone Patent Portfolio from HP (January 24, 2014)
  • Qualcomm Names Steve Mollenkopf CEO and President (December 13, 2013)
  • Qualcomm Unveils Low-Power Wi-Fi Platform for Major Home Appliances and Consumer Electronics (September 6, 2013)
  • Intrinsyc Announces New Development Kit Featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 APQ8074 Processor (June 27, 2013)
  • Youku Tudou and Qualcomm Collaborate to Provide High Quality Video on its Mobile Platform (June 20, 2013)
  • Nan Chiau primary school, Qualcomm and Microsoft collaborate to build 21st century classroom with 3G smartphones in Singapore (March 30, 2012)
  • Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Family Gains Momentum With Leading OEMs Across Multiple Operating Systems (May 30, 2011)
  • Qualcomm and Ericsson Demonstrate LTE TDD Mobility at 2.3 GHz in India (December 1, 2010)
  • Qualcomm Announces Availability of Augmented Reality SDK (October 5, 2010)
  • Qualcomm Ventures Kicks Off Second Annual QPrize Competition to Find the Next Big Wireless Innovations (September 16, 2010)
  • Audiovox launches first portable DVD player with built-in FLO TV (August 13, 2010)
  • HTC Droid Incredible Carries $163.35 Bill of Materials, iSuppli Teardown Reveals (July 29, 2010)
  • Qualcomm Launches Augmented Reality Application Developer Challenge (July 5, 2010)
  • Qualcomm Establishes Augmented Reality Game Studio at Georgia Tech (July 2, 2010)
  • Qualcomm Opens Research and Development Center in Shanghai (May 25, 2010)
  • TIME, New York Times, and Harper Collins Chair Industry’s First Closed-Door Digital Publishing Summit (March 4, 2010)
  • Qualcomm smartphone OS support (December 3, 2009)
  • Semiconductor Market Declines Less Than Expected, Samsung Shines in 2009 (November 24, 2009)
  • Qualcomm Takes Lead as 4G Patent Holder, According to ABI Research (November 18, 2009)
  • Qualcomm and ST-Ericsson Shine, Even as Wireless Chip Market Tanks (May 4, 2009)
  • Qualcomm and Broadcom Reach Settlement and Patent Agreement (April 27, 2009)
  • Nokia and Qualcomm Enter Into a New Agreement (July 25, 2008)
  • Nortel and Qualcomm Lay Foundation for Enhanced Dual-Mode Phone Service Out-of-the-Box (December 4, 2007)
  • Federal Judge Vacates Jury’s Finding Of ’Willfulness’ in Patent Infringement Case Against Qualcomm (November 26, 2007)
  • Real Men are Fabless; Qualcomm Enters Semiconductor Top-10 in Q2 (August 28, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM Disagrees With ITC Decision and Seeks Stay and Presidential Veto of ITC Ban on Imports of Future 3G Mobile Broadband Handset Models (June 8, 2007)
  • PacketVideo and QUALCOMM Show MediaFLO Device at NAB (April 17, 2007)
  • Qualcomm Statement: Qualcomm is the Largest User of Nokia Technology and Patents (April 13, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM Rejects Nokia’s $20 Million Partial Payment Offer (April 13, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM Files Arbitration Demand Against Nokia to Resolve Dispute Over License Agreement (April 6, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM and Broadcom Agree to Dismiss Certain Patent Claims (February 23, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM Announces Expansion of uiOne Handset Portfolio With O2 in Europe (February 9, 2007)
  • Qualcomm Expresses Disappointment Over Jury Verdict (January 30, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM Brings Mobile Broadband Closer to Market with HSUPA (July 19, 2006)
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