Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM) today declared before the House of Representatives Science Subcommittee on Technology in Washington, D.C. that all parties should work together toward a converged third generation (3G) wireless technology standard. John Major, executive vice president and president of the Wireless Infrastructure Division of Qualcomm, stated that the new third generation standards should treat existing wireless network investments fairly while providing significant benefits for both operators and consumers.
CdmaOne™, an American invention, is the fastest growing digital wireless standard in the world. Less than three years after its first commercial deployment in Hong Kong, cdmaOne is the dominant digital technology in the U.S., Korea and Mexico, and has been deployed throughout Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa, Russia, and Eastern Europe. Commercial launches are expected later this year in Japan and Australia.
Along with the other CDMA equipment manufacturers, Qualcomm has worked with the CDMA Development Group (CDG) on a third generation version of cdmaOne that will be known as cdma2000. cdma2000 has been submitted to various standards bodies around the world for consideration and eventual standardization.
Major stressed that Qualcomm executives are committed to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) process and will continue to work with all parties toward a converged third generation standard that meets the above specifications. He noted, however, that such an effort requires significant changes in the way the European Commission and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) have approached the issue to date.
"We believe that standards and technology decisions should be made based on what is best for customers and operators, not what is best for wireless manufacturers or governments," Major said. "We believe in full and fair competition among technologies—not in protectionism or in industrial policy that places manufacturers ahead of consumers."
ETSI and others are promoting a W-CDMA standard that does not meet with the basic principles espoused by Major during his testimony: a converged third generation standard that respects existing second generation investments; allowing markets, not governments, to guide timing and deployment of 3G services; and making decisions based on what is best for the customers and operators. This variant of CDMA cannot deliver what it promises, and will only raise costs for consumers. Major noted that the principles he outlined are consistent with the historical approach taken by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States on standards issues.
Perry LaForge, Executive Director of the CDG, issued a statement that echoed Mr. Major's remarks. "The CDG has worked to establish strong relationships with standards bodies in Asia and Europe. Our goal is the development of wireless standards that are beneficial to operators and manufacturers around the world. Standards bodies in Asia have been very responsive to open dialogue on this issue. The Europeans, in contrast, seem resistant to such a dialogue. We are concerned that the European market will remain closed, as was the case with the GSM second-generation standard, while other regions pursue a more open-market approach. We hope that the European and ITU processes are open and equitable and that all regional standards bodies will be willing to work toward a harmonized standard."
As a result of its early and unique leadership role in CDMA, Qualcomm has an extensive CDMA patent portfolio. It includes more than 130 CDMA patents issued, more than 400 patent applications pending in the U.S. and around the world, and 55 licensed equipment manufacturers.
Qualcomm has informed standards bodies that if the IMT-2000 CDMA standard meets certain requirements and provides a reasonable level of compatibility with today's cdmaOne networks, Qualcomm will commit to widely license its essential patents for such standard on reasonable terms and conditions free from unfair discrimination.
Headquartered in San Diego, Qualcomm develops, manufactures, markets, licenses, and operates advanced communications systems and products based on its proprietary digital wireless technologies. The Company's primary product areas are the OmniTRACS® system (a geostationary satellite-based, mobile communications system providing two-way data and position reporting services), CDMA wireless communications systems and products and, in conjunction with others, the development of the Globalstar low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communications system. Other Company products include the Eudora Pro® electronic mail software, ASIC products and communication equipment and systems for government and commercial customers worldwide. For more information on Qualcomm products and technologies, please visit the Company's web site at http://www.qualcomm.com.
Except for the historical information contained herein, this news release contains forward looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, including timely product development, the Company's ability to successfully manufacture significant quantities of CDMA or other equipment on a timely and profitable basis and those related to performance guarantees, change in economic conditions of the various markets the Company serves, as well as the other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's SEC reports, including the report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 28, 1997 and most recent Form 10-Q.
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