ST, TI and Nokia to offer CDMA chips

Two of the world's largest semiconductor manufacturers and the world's biggest mobile phone maker are teaming to offer a set of chips for handsets in a move that will directly challenge Qualcomm Inc.

STMicroelectronics NV (ST) and Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) will offer an entire CDMA 2000 1X chipset, based on technology developed jointly with Nokia Corp., the companies said Thursday in a statement.

The CDMA chipset will include an analog baseband/power management chip, a digital baseband chip, and reference designs, according to the statement.

With the new chipset, the group will move into a market dominated by Qualcomm, which sells about 90 percent of all chips in phones based on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology. The technology is widely used in the Americas and parts of Asia but ranks a distant second to GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications).

For the CDMA market to grow, handset manufacturers need a choice of competitive systems and suppliers, said Aldo Romano, general manager of ST's telecommunications, peripherals and automotive groups.

ST and TI will market the set of chips, which Nokia has already incorporated into its CDMA 2000 1X phones, according to the statement. The group expects to have first qualified samples of the new chips next quarter.

The companies provided no financial details.

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