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Qualcomm Committed to Evolving CDMA

SAN DIEGO -- Uplinq 2013 -- Qualcomm is just as committed to CDMA as it's always been; it's just equally committed to other technologies in smartphones, the chipmaker's EVP assured attendees at its annual developers conference.

In a press briefing at Uplinq 2013, Murthy Renduchintala, EVP of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and co-president of Qualcomm Mobile, explained that Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) invests in the long term. It invested in UMTS for five to six years before it really saw the market take off, he said, and it's not backing off its CDMA investment either.

"We're still very enthusiastic about the foreseeable future for CDMA," Renduchintala said. "While the operators that are still committed to CDMA are concentrated, they still have needs on extensibility and evolution of their footprint, and we support them fully."

Since its biggest CDMA customer, Verizon Wireless , is plotting LTE-only devices by the end of 2014, there's been concern that Qualcomm would miss out on what's long been a lucrative stream of CDMA royalties. Renduchintala said the chipmaker is now looking at how to evolve what it does in CDMA, along with other technologies such as 3GPP. (See LTE Chips Away at Qualcomm's CDMA Royalty and CTIA: Verizon Pushes for Single-Mode LTE.)

"We continue to have very extensive discussions with all key operators in CDMA to understand their needs and capacity requirements, and we continue to incrementally add features to CDMA technology capability just as we do to GSM, WCDMA, and LTE," Renduchintala added.

He also echoed the sentiments of Peter Carson, senior director of marketing for Qualcomm's Gobi team, on how hard achieving global roaming with LTE and LTE-Advanced will be for the chipmaker and its operator partners. (See Mobile Migraine: Carrier Aggregation Roaming .)

"In the next 5 years it's all about how do you take those 50 LTE bands multiplied by carrier aggregation and miniaturize that into a solution where an OEM can have a global platform with three to five SKUs," he said. "It'll be a big challenge to replicate the economies of scale we had with 3G."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

MordyK 9/6/2013 | 2:42:24 AM
Re: CDMA to LTE roaming I would agree with that. The CDMA commitment seems to be talking points while the multi-band LTE issue seems to be a passion project along with small cells. Their CDMA interest was always about the royalty revenue but with their tech now being embedded in UMTS & LTE they are already getting the CDMA revenue plus as part of the overall 3GPP licensing business, hence their ever rising share price.
Sarah Thomas 9/5/2013 | 9:46:39 AM
CDMA to LTE roaming Company execs appear to be in line with their messaging on CDMA and roaming. I think they have to say they're still supporting CDMA, and I'm sure they are, but it has to pale in comparison to other network technologies. Just listen to how hard they say LTE carrier aggregation roaming is going to be! That's the main focus for Qualcomm now.
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