Press Note

Qualcomm Honored with the Prestigious IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing Award

IEEE Milestone Plaque Unveiled at Qualcomm‘s Corporate Headquarters

Nov 7, 2017SAN DIEGO

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Qualcomm Incorporated today announced that the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) presented the Company with the IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing award for its pioneering work in CDMA, specifically for the first demonstration of CDMA for cellular networks.

Twenty-eight years ago today, on November 7, 1989, Qualcomm demonstrated a digital cellular radio system based upon Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), which significantly increased capacity, improved service quality, and extended battery life. This formed the basis for the IS-95 second-generation cellular standard and for the major third-generation (3G) mobile broadband cellular standards used in billions of mobile cellular devices worldwide. This early and important milestone exemplifies Qualcomm’s leadership in driving innovation in the mobile industry, continuing more recently with the development in advanced 4G and next-generation 5G networks. Just as Qualcomm pioneered CDMA, Qualcomm demonstrated a similar milestone a few weeks ago with the first-announced 5G data connection.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the IEEE today, exactly 28 years ago to the day that our founders led the first demonstration of CDMA and pioneered the transformation of the wireless industry,” said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO, Qualcomm Incorporated. “Qualcomm has and continues to focus on solving the most complex system-level problems facing the industry.”

During a ceremony held at Qualcomm’s Corporate Headquarters, Kathleen Kraemer, IEEE Region 6 Director, and Jim Thompson, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc, unveiled the IEEE Milestone plaque.  Following the presentation ceremony was a panel discussion with:

  • Dr. Irwin M. Jacobs, Qualcomm founder
  • Dr. Andrew Viterbi, Qualcomm founder
  • Dr. Roberto Padovani, retired chief technical officer
  • Lindsay “Butch” A. Weaver, former executive vice president
  • Dr. Chuck Wheatley, senior vice president of technology, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
  • Dr. Ed Tiedemann, senior vice president of engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
  • Moderated by Matt Grob, executive vice president of Technology, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.   

“This prestigious award is a testament to how Qualcomm has developed technologies that have connected every corner of the globe,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, who recently presented a proclamation to Qualcomm for this achievement. “San Diego is proud to be the home of a forward-thinking company like Qualcomm that’s not only spurring our local innovation economy but changing the world.”

"The IEEE Milestones program honors significant technical achievements in all areas associated with IEEE," said Karen Bartleson, IEEE President and CEO. "We congratulate Qualcomm for its work in CDMA which has helped transform the way that people communicate around the world."

IEEE established the Milestones Program in 1983 to recognize the technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity found in unique products, services, seminal papers and patents. Each milestone recognizes a significant technical achievement that occurred at least twenty-five years ago in an area of technology represented in IEEE and having at least regional impact. Currently just over 180 IEEE Milestones have been approved and dedicated around the world.

About IEEE
IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice in a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers, and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power, and consumer electronics. Learn more at

About Qualcomm

Qualcomm's technologies powered the smartphone revolution and connected billions of people. We pioneered 3G and 4G – and now we are leading the way to 5G and a new era of intelligent, connected devices. Our products are revolutionizing industries, including automotive, computing, IoT, healthcare and data center, and are allowing millions of devices to connect with each other in ways never before imagined. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, all of our engineering, research and development functions, and all of our products and services businesses, including, our QCT semiconductor business. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

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Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm's licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm's engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses. Qualcomm products referenced on this page are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

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