TOKYO Matsushita and NEC Corp. are teaming with Texas Instruments to form a mobile phone joint venture that will share R&D activities. The Japanese companies want to use the deal to become global wireless players.
The joint venture, dubbed Adcore-Tech Co. Ltd., includes a communications platform development effort in which all three partners will participate. A second handset development effort will inlude only Matsushita subisidiary Panasonic Mobile Communications and NEC.
Adcore will generally focus on developing a communications platform for 3G, 3.5G, 3.9G and beyond, The JV will be launched in August with a ¥12 billion yen (about $104 million) investment. Matsushita and NEC will each hold a 44-percent share, with TI holding the remaining 12 percent.
The Japanese partners are seeking a new framework for their the mobile phone business that includes development of baseband chips for 3G and beyond along with a common handset development environment backed by the Open Mobile Linux consortium established in June.
In joining forces with TI, the two companiesdominant in Japan but minor players in the world marketwant to establish a beachhead in the global market.
The partners will license their technologies to Adcore to develop communications chips. The resulting technology will be licensed to each member's semiconductor unit. Matsushita's Semiconductor Co., NEC Electronics Corp. and TI will sell the chips to handset vendors.
Matsushita and NEC also plan to shrink their overseas mobile phone operations and focus on the domestic market to improve profitability.
|NEC President Kaoru Yano (left) and Matsushita President Fumio Ohtsubo close the deal.|
The partners said they are aiming to supply 20 percent of wideband-CDMA communications chips to the global market by 2008. "TI has accumulated 2.5G technology. Together with NEC's and Matsushita's's technology, quite competitive chips will be developed," predicted NEC President Kaoru Yano.
Toshiyuki Kawasaki, president of Texas Intruments Japan, said the JV focuses on communications modems, and does not include TI's OMAP wireless technology.
Adcore will initially have a staff of 180 engineers. TI has not decided how many engineers it will contribute to the joint venture.