SAN DIEGO -- In a major coup for its chip business, Qualcomm Inc. here today (Feb. 28) announced a major design win in the wideband code-division multiple access (W-CDMA) arena with Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
Under the terms, the Korean company will use Qualcomm's MSM5200 chip set in its W-CDMA-enabled cellular phones, said K.T. Lee, chief executive and executive vice president of Samsung Electronics, one of the world's largest suppliers of handsets.
The deal is a boost for San Diego-based Qualcomm. At present, Samsung is largest chip customer for Qualcomm. The Korean company uses Qualcomm's chip sets for its cell-phone products based on a second-generation (2G) standard called cdmaOne.
Qualcomm, the main backer of the cdmaOne protocol, is also the driving force behind a third-generation (3G) standard called cdma2000. Sprint, Verizon, and other companies support cdma2000.
But cdma2000 is competitive with another 3G standard called W-CDMA. Motorola, Nokia, NTT, and others support W-CDMA.
Some companies, reportedly including Samsung, may end up supporting both cdma2000 and W-CDMA--a move that reportedly prompted Qualcomm to develop chip products in both camps.
Late last year, Qualcomm began sampling a chip set for cdma2000-enabled cell phones. But fearing it may lose its customer base, including Samsung, Qualcomm swallowed its pride by recently announcing chip sets, radio-frequency (RF) devices, and power amps based on W-CDMA.
Other suppliers are also ramping up W-CDMA-enabled chip sets, including Motorola Inc., Texas Instruments Inc., and others.