PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Agilent Technologies Inc. here today announced a partnership with Qualcomm Inc. to provide production test solutions for RF wireless ASICs and to give Qualcomm's test suppliers access to Agilent test equipment to help in reducing their costs.
Besides supplying standardized Agilent 84000 RFIC Series test systems, Agilent will also provide on-site test applications experts and faster test program development tools that it said will allow Qualcomm CDMA Technologies to improve the time to market for its RF ASICs.
"Qualcomm was seeking a company that could supply a standard test platform to deliver quality RF ASICs, one that could meet our time-to-market and cost-of-test needs," said Don Schrock, president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies in San Diego. "Agilent's 84000 Series and their past performance indicate their competence to meet those requirements, and represent a firm with whom we are confident we can develop a long-term partnership."
Agilent, a Hewlett-Packard Co. spin-off, said using standard, scalable, test platforms and standard fixturing for both wafer-sort and final device testing will reduce the cost of ownership for Qualcomm.
Qualcomm has pushed to the forefront of CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) silicon since selling its infrastructure business last year to L.M. Ericsson (see March 25, 1999, story), and wireless telephone manufacturing unit to Kyocera Corp. (see Dec. 22, 1999, story). CDMA is still far behind rival technology GSM (Global System for Mobile communications), but it is catching up. According to a market study produced by Micrologic Research and marketed by Forward Concepts, of Tempe, Ariz., CDMA handset sales grew 166% last year, while GSM sales were up 42%. GSM still owns the largest market share, 125 million units to 42 million for CDMA, but the gap has narrowed, the market researcher said.
Qualcomm claimed its CDMA chip-set shipments increased from 50 million to 65 million during the past year. "This rapid growth has led to an increase in demand for CDMA products as reflected in the increased product shipments by ourselves and our licensees,'' said Richard Sulpizio, president and chief operating officer of Qualcomm.
"We are pleased that QUALCOMM has chosen Agilent as their RFIC test partner and sees us as an enabler for their vision for wireless communications," said John Scruggs, senior vice president and general manager of Agilent's Automated Test Group. "Our scalable 84000 RFIC platform is widely used by both traditional and fabless companies. Our worldwide semiconductor contract manufacturing team is available to assist in meeting their time-to-market objectives."
Agilent targeted the 3G wireless high-volume market with its 84000 RFIC Series with new signal sources and wider bandwidth measurements (see Nov. 30, 1999, story). It offers a range of scalable RFIC and MMIC solutions with 2 to 12 RF ports to meet critical market needs. Agilent's current 84000 Series products include solutions for complete transceivers, multifunction RFICs, mixers, switches, power amplifiers and low noise amplifiers (LNAs).