Japan’s biggest carrier NTT DoCoMo has just announced a big deal with Samsung and other Japanese electronics companies to jointly work on semiconductors for smartphones, a field currently dominated by US chipmaker Qualcomm. The allied forces in the JV also include Japanese companies Panasonic, Fujitsu, Fujitsu Semiconductors and NEC. All of them are expected to make the deal final by the end of March 2012.
Interestingly, NTT DoCoMo is likely to take the majority stake in the JV, planning to pour in around $5.8 million (450 million Japanese yen) in the partnership. Make no mistake - even though the list of companies is dominated by Japan-based ones, the production will aim at the global scene.
The JV will place focus on “feature-rich, small-size, low-power-consumption semiconductor products equipped with modem functionality.” LTE and LTE-Advanced will be the particular technologies of attention. That’s the exact direction Qualcomm has already taken on - the company is integrating LTE in its latest 22nm Snapdragon S4 chips. The new deal will make all of the participants less dependant on Qualcomm.
DOCOMO and Five Companies to Set Up Communication Platform Joint Venture Company
TOKYO, JAPAN, December 27, 2011 --- NTT DOCOMO, INC. announced today that it has reached a basic agreement with five companies — Fujitsu Ltd., Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd., NEC Corporation, Panasonic Mobile Communications Co., Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. — to establish a fabless joint venture company by the end of March 2012 to develop and sell semiconductor products for mobile devices.
The joint venture company, leveraging the six investing companies’ strong backgrounds in cellular communication technology and vast experience in application specific integrated circuits (ASIC) design and foundry manufacturing, will develop feature-rich, small-size, low-power-consumption semiconductor products equipped with modem functionality. The joint venture company will focus on developing products for LTE and LTE-Advanced mobile communication standards. The products will be sold in markets globally.
The envisioned joint venture company will be formed once all parties agree on the details, which are now being worked out through consultation. Following the basic agreement announced today, and as part of preparing to form the joint venture company, DOCOMO plans to invest 450 million Japanese yen, or about 5.8 million USD*, to establish a wholly owned subsidiary, called Communication Platform Planning Co., Ltd. and headed by CEO Mitsunobu Komori, concurrently an executive vice president and Chief Technical Officer of DOCOMO, by the middle of January.