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QUALCOMM, interWAVE Expand CDMA Bond

Looking to spread CDMA technology even further around the globe, inventor QUALCOMM Wednesday expanded its relationship with interWAVE Communications .

The two companies currently have an existing licensing agreement for the third-generation wireless standard in only a handful of areas. The new agreement is expected to improve support of high-quality, high-speed voice and wireless data services in small base stations worldwide.

Under the terms of the multi-million dollar, royalty-bearing agreement, San Diego-based QUALCOMM said it has granted interWAVE a license under its CDMA patent portfolio to develop, manufacture and sell cdmaOne and CDMA2000 1X/1xEV-DO infrastructure equipment.

interWAVE was already on the upgrade track. The Bermuda-based company acquired Walnut Creek, Calif.-based GBase Communications in September 2002. At the time, GBase was developing CDMA 2000 base station systems and packet data serving nodes under a limited license with QUALCOMM.

"We believe this license agreement is of vital strategic importance for interWAVE as we expand our abilities to provide compact cellular infrastructure for the global CDMA marketplace," interWAVE CFO Cal Hoagland said in a statement. "We are pleased to expand our license agreement, as it allows us to offer CDMA2000 1X products to help continue the momentum of the rapidly growing 3G market."

Telecom service providers use interWAVE hardware, based on GSM technology, to expand system capacity. interWAVE's products are currently installed in about 20 countries.

While CDMA and GSM technologies can co-exist, they are not compatible -- yet. Both are evolution in process from 2G to 3G. They are as follows:

  • CDMA > CDMA2000 1XRTT > CDMA 1X-EV DO(data only)/DV (data and voice)
  • TDMA > GSM > GPRS > Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) > UMTS or WCDMA.

CDMA carriers include Verizon, Sprint PCS and QUALCOMM with an estimated number of 67 million users.

GSM holds upwards of 60 percent of the mobile phone market. Backers of the GSM standard include Nokia and Ericsson. The standard uses 900 MHz and 1800 MHz in Europe. In North America, GSM uses the 1900 MHz.