Electronic Design

CDMA Firm Sells Phone Division While Advancing Technology

So much for the quiet holiday season. In the days leading up to Christmas, Qualcomm, San Diego, Calif., announced the sale of its terrestrial-based CDMA phone division to Kyocera, San Diego, a leading phone manufacturer in Asia. Hot on the heels of this announcement, the company then revealed that it had completed the world's first successful over-the-air phone calls compliant with industry-standard 3G CDMA 1x multicarrier (MC) technology (IS-2000 Release 0), using its MSM5000 chip set and system software. Separately, Qualcomm also announced that the physical-layer MSM5000 hardware and software has achieved 153 kbits/s on both the forward and reverse links.

Though the TDMA-based GSM phone network has the largest—and growing—installed base by far, CDMA technology is enjoying increasing popularity in the U.S., Japan, and Korea. In fact, CDMA is the technology of choice for third-generation (3G) devices. Yet the technology's growth has brought continued cost pressures that can only be met by a high level of manufacturing experience, expertise, and volume. To alleviate these pressures, Qualcomm has decided to sell its terrestrial-based, CDMA consumer division to a newly formed Kyocera division. The deal includes Qualcomm's phone inventory, manufacturing equipment, and customer commitments.

Qualcomm's criteria for the selection include Kyocera's presence and manufacturing capabilities in Asia, its willingness to support Qualcomm's existing customers in the U.S. and elsewhere, and its agreement to purchase a majority of its CDMA chip sets and system software from Qualcomm for a period of five years.

The agreement carries special weight, considering Kyocera's major stake in DDI Corp., one of two CDMA carriers in Japan. Recently, DDI announced its acquisition of KDD and IDO, two of Japan's other leading telecom providers. The combination will form a unified CDMA carrier under the DDI name this year.

The technology Kyocera gains through the agreement will let it quickly introduce 64-kbit/s capability. This will be the preamble to finally taking advantage of Qualcomm's other recent announcement—the world's first successful over-the-air phone calls compliant with the 3G CDMA 1x MC technology (IS-2000 Release 0), using the MSM5000 chip set and system software.

The MSM5000 solution for mobile handsets, together with Qualcomm CDMA Technologies' CSM5000 cell site modem (CSM) for wireless base stations, comprise the first members of a family of chip set and system software solutions that support the 1x MC standard. The MSM5000 chip set and system software solution is pin-compatible with the MSM3000 product. It also exceeds the ITU's 3G requirements for data rates in full, wide-area mobility of 144 kbits/s by enabling data rates of 153.6 kbits/s on both the forward and reverse links.

Compliant with 3G CDMA 1x MC, the MSM5000 solution gives operators up to twice the overall capacity for voice-over IS-95A and IS-95B systems by providing features such as fast, 800-Hz forward power control and new modulation and coding schemes. The system software will include support for IS-95A, IS-95B, and 3G CDMA 1x MC.

The CSM5000 single-chip solution supplies base-station manufacturers with up to 32 simultaneous users on a single chip, which is a four-fold increase over the previous-generation CSM. It also exceeds the ITU's 144-kbit/s requirement for data rates in full, wide-area mobility by enabling data rates of 307.2 kbits/s on both the forward and reverse links.

Samples of the MSM5000 chip set and system software are available now. Sample shipments for the CSM5000 solution are due in March.

TAGS: Mobile
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