NTT DoCoMo to invest in 3G/GSM chip development

IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

NTT DoCoMo Inc. is planning to invest in chip-maker Renesas Technology Corp. and work with the company to jointly develop a single chip that will enable cell phones to work on both third generation (3G) and second-generation (2G) networks, the company said Monday.

NTT DoCoMo said in a statement that it will invest a total of about ¥7 billion (US$64.9 million) over three years in Renesas Technology to realize the development of a chip compatible with WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access), GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). WCDMA is the 3G standard used by NTT DoCoMo in Japan while GSM is the most prevalent second-generation mobile phone technology and GPRS is its packet data transmission technology.

Currently it is necessary to use two chips to ensure compatibility with both systems, said NTT DoCoMo. Dual-mode handsets are seen as important to drive 3G adoption around the world because users can gain the benefits of 3G at home and still enjoy the wide roaming ability of 2G. By cutting the number of chips used the handsets should be able to be made cheaper, smaller, lighter and to consume less power.

Late last year NTT DoCoMo announced plans to invest in several handset makers to push development of advanced 3G handsets.

The company said it planned to provide a total of

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