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ST-Ericsson sets sights at China, U.S. markets

Posted: 11 Jun 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TD-SCDMA? China U.S markets? baseband?

ST-Ericsson CEO Alain Dutheil disclosed that the new wireless chip group is looking for growth in the U.S. and Chinese markets.

In an interview with the Financial Times Dutheil said he is particularly keen to get ST-Ericsson's processors and baseband chips into a Tier 1 smart phone such as the next iteration of Apple's iPhone, or Research in Motion's BlackBerry.

For the moment, Apple relies on Infineon Technologies for both baseband chips and transceivers, while the latest BlackBerrys uses Qualcomm chips.

"We have no American companies among our top five customers. We need to convince them to work with us," Dutheil told the business newspaper.

ST-Ericsson recently scored a big design win in China, being selected by one of the country's leading operators, China Mobile, as a partner for developing handsets for China's domestic 3G phone standard, TD-SCDMA.

"China is the one place where the market is really picking up today," Dutheil was quoted as saying. "The Chinese government has initiatives to restart consumption and there are big investments by telecoms operators. Development of the TD-SCDMA standard is boosting demand and we are now well positioned with Chinese suppliers."

ST-Ericsson is under intense pressure to find growth opportunities and major design wins. Last week, it announced plans to cut 146 jobs in France and wind down operations at its plant in Caen, France, in response to poor market conditions.

"With our restructuring plan it is possible to reach break-even in the second quarter of 2010, but I am not saying we will. It depends on whether we can get topline growth, and it depends on the market," Dutheil said.

And, as if to affirm the growing importance of the Chinese market, ST-Ericsson said June 9 that, together with its local subsidiary T3G, it had strengthened its strategic partnership with Samsung by providing a platform for its first high-end TD-HSDPA/Edge device, the Emerald (GC-I6320C). The dual-mode, dual-band device is capable of supporting downlink speeds of up to 2.8Mbit/s.

"This commercial launch by Samsung is a significant step in the development of TD-SCDMA-based data services in China," said Dutheil.

The T7210 platform from ST-Ericsson supports TD-SCDMA dual-band 2010-2025MHz/1880-1920MHz frequencies, and has completed handovers of voice and high speed data services in China dual-band networks.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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