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Qualcomm Lands Berkana Wireless

Wireless networking giant Qualcomm has acquired Berkana Wireless, a fabless vendor of radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) made using CMOS manufacturing process technology, for $56 million in cash, the companies said.

Berkana's cellular systems experience is expected to reinforce Qualcomm's leading position in the RFIC industry, and could improve the company's ability to deliver CDMA2000 and WCDMA (UMTS) RF solutions to its customers and the growing number of 3G subscribers around the world.

"We are continually seeking ways to strengthen and accelerate our offerings," Sanjay Jha, president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, said in a statement.

"This acquisition reinforces our leadership in RF in the 3G wireless market, enabling us to more quickly deliver new highly integrated RF CMOS solutions to our customers."

Qualcomm is expecting the Campbell, Calif.-based Berkana to help deliver cost, power and space reductions to the cellular phone radio function, and to enable next-generation multi-mode handsets and wireless terminals.

"Our joining with Qualcomm is a result of our shared goals to advance 3G wireless deployment and adoption worldwide," said Sam Nakib, president and chief executive officer of Berkana Wireless, in the statement.

In the past several years, Qualcomm has been active in snatching up properties to move it forward in this space.

In 2004, the company acquired semiconductor design firm Spike Technologies to help satisfy demand for its 3G CDMA wireless devices.

The company has also been mining the growing number of 3G subscribers around the world.

In 2003, it took a big step in that direction when it landed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Asia Pacific Broadband Wireless Communications, the first operator in the region to commercialize 3G services using CDMA2000 technology.

In addition to the cash payment of $56 million, Qualcomm expects to incur one-time charges of approximately $10 million, principally related to in-process research and development, upon closing.