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Qualcomm In Talks with Hong Kong, Taiwan

Wireless equipment manufacturer QUALCOMM is making a case for its brand of 3G communications in two Asian countries, and is reportedly in talks with officials to forgo a de facto European standard.

According to a Reuters report published Wednesday, the manufacturer's executives are in talks with officials in Taiwan and Hong Kong to buy up QUALCOMM's Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) 2000-based equipment.

QUALCOMM officials in the U.S. would not confirm or deny the Reuters report, saying they had no comment on its operations in Asia.

Throughout much of Asia and Europe, the principal protocol for 3G digital wireless phone connections -- used to deliver high-speed Internet access as well as voice traffic -- is the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). In Europe, GSM was named the only type of 3G protocol allowed in the European Union by its European Commission.

But some experts contend CDMA (the precursor to CDMA2000), developed by QUALCOMM during World War II to deliver classified information over the airwaves using spread spectrum technology, is a better fit for 3G communications. Europe's GSM is based on Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), which divides phone traffic in time slots.

According to MDR/Instat, a research company, Japan and South Korea have taken the lead in 3G communications; Japan with its

In May, QUALCOMM hired former president and chief operating officer Richard Sulpizio to head its China operations. It fell to him to make the case for CDMA2000 in a region that has, until recently been predominantly GSM country.

The company has a long-standing relationship with China, signing a memorandum of understanding back in 2000 to develop a CDMA network throughout the country.

QUALCOMM and other 3G equipment providers have a tough sell ahead of them in Southeast Asia, according to one analyst, who believes 3G contracts outside of some countries will be limited after the market saturates.