RealTime IT News

Qualcomm to Pay $18M for Qualphone

Networking company Qualcomm continued its drive to accelerate 3G deployment with the $18 million cash acquisition of Qualphone, developer of IP-based multimedia Subsystems (IMS) software for mobile networks and handsets.

Qualphone's IMS software allows mobile carriers to more easily offer subscribers multimedia, including video, voice and text. Qualphone also provides IMS interoperability, reducing the time needed to introduce handsets.

"Many device manufacturers do not have dedicated teams in Europe to perform required IOT [interoperability testing] for commercial products," Qualcomm spokesperson Kira Lee told internetnews.com.

Both San Diego-based companies share a common goal of simplifying worldwide 3G deployed, Isaac Eteminan, president and CEO of Qualphone, said in a statement.

Qualcomm, patent holder of the CDMA architecture, said it will use Qualphone to offer 3G products in Europe running on top of WCDMA or CDMA2000.

"IMS can improve the economic model of 3G," said Ken Rehbehn, research director for telephone infrastructure at Current Analysis.

Qualphone can enable operators to rollout more services at lower risk, according to Rehbehn.

Rehbehn likened the Qualphone purchase to BREW, both allowing Qualcomm to increase its sway over handsets.

Last month, Qualcomm was one of the network infrastructure companies that developed Advances to IP Multimedia Subsystem, or A- IMS. Verizon, which sponsored the effort, claimed the current IMS spec would "widow" many popular mobile applications.

While Qualcomm dominates 3G chips, earlier this month mobile phone titan Nokia sued the company, asking a court to require Qualcomm to fairly license its GSM and UMTS technology.

In another move to expand 3G, Qualcomm earlier this year acquired fabless chip vendor Berkana Wireless for $56 million. Qualcomm in 2004 purchased semiconductor designer Spike Technologies to also boost 3G CDMA production.

In 2005, Qualcomm added to its CDMA and GSM patent portfolio, paying $600 million for Flarion, which develops base stations, chipsets and software for mobile operators based on Othogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access, or OFDMA. OFDMA is viewed as the possible successor of 3G technology.

Qualcomm should complete the Qualphone acquisition later this month, according to the two companies.