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Qualcomm shifts software development projects to India

Posted: 19 Jan 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:qualcomm? software development? mobile phone?

Qualcomm Inc. said it will join the growing list of U.S. companies establishing software development centers in India. The center will open later this year to develop applications for mobile phone users.

San Diego-based Qualcomm also said it would not proceed with plans to take an equity stake in Reliance Communications Ltd, an Indian wireline and wireless phone services provider.

No target date, location or investment levels for the proposed center were disclosed, but hiring has started and could reach 100 staffers, company officials said. Qualcomm is also scouting small- and medium-sized software development companies here. It could invest up to $5 million in each company, drawing from a $400 million global investment fund.

Qualcomm announced two years ago that it would take a minority equity position in Reliance Communications, the phone services company belonging to India's Reliance Group. Qualcomm had said it would invest up to $200 million, but has canceled plans after Reliance rolled out its services across India.

Reliance started its CDMA 2000 1x-based local and regional phone services in India last year and has achieved extremely quick wireless phone penetration across India, adding millions of subscribers each month. Another CDMA-based service provider, Tata Teleservices Ltd, part of the Indian industrial house, the Tata Group, has also deployed these services.

Irwin Jacobs, Qualcomm's chairman and chief executive, said the moves undercut the need to seek equity in Indian phone services provider. Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices are India's largest CDMA-based wireless phone services providers, and Qualcomm's prospects here depend on the two companies expansion plans.

The number of CDMA subscribers in India in the first year have topped 8 million, exceeding Qualcomm's predictions of six million. By the end of 2004, it expects the number of CDMA subscribers here to reach 20 million.

Qualcomm is also talking to some GSM-based phone services providers here about deploying its GSM 1x technology. The technology enables GSM-based operators to use CDMA spectrum with some modifications.

Jacobs said he expects dual-mode mobile phones to be commercially available in February.

- K.C. Krishnadas

EE Times

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