Qualcomm, China and WiMax

Unwired has an interview with Dave Mock. Excerpts:

Q: What are your predictions about Qualcomm and China? China has been testing the two leading 3G technologies along with a homegrown technology. Any thoughts on how it will all play out?
A: I think China will push TD-SCDMA into the market somehow, with the principle purpose of leveraging a bigger role in the industry. Whether it is successful or not probably doesnt matter as much as what it buys them. I think arguments of Qualcomms assertion of IPR in the standard are moot, as I dont see it as a significant driver of royalty for them. However it plays out, CDMA and WCDMA should still develop a significant presence.

Q: Speaking of Wi-Fi, do you think that Wi-Fi-enabled handsets will hurt the success of EV-DO and other 3G technologies, or increase usage of these networks (or both)?
A: I think Wi-Fi is shaping up to be a serious threat, and this is no surprise to anyone in Qualcomm. But I think it hurts Qualcomm less than the operators, who will lose control of the channel. Regional (and municipal) Wi-Fi deployments have the biggest chance of limiting the uptake of EV-DO, and pressuring service prices. Actually, Wi-Fi itself is not the true threat its the aggregation of hotspots and roaming agreements for WLANs that potentially could cut out EV-DO. But so far these efforts have failed.

Q: Should Qualcomm be frightened by WiMAX? And do you think the vendor will ultimately support WiMAX?
A: Qualcomm should be concerned about WiMAX and anything like it and they are. The standard itself will likely be stalled to no end as it is too broad right now, but some significant decisions will be made in 2005 that could put it on the fast track or send it out to be shot. Intels weight shouldnt be underestimated here, and I think theyll be successful in getting many in the industry to adopt the standard if it comes through in marketable form.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.