THE WRAP: Ericsson and STMicroelectronics form JV

It's the silly season for news and Scandinavia all but shuts down as everyone heads to the beach, so Ericsson forming a joint venture with STMicroelectronics of Switzerland was something of a surprise. The new entity will supply chips to four out of the top five handset makers.

Texas Instrument's shares fell when the JV news hit the market.

Apple, the consumers' darling, issued a software fix for signal problems that resulted in dropped calls by its new 3G iPhone amid severe criticism from users. In its usual style, the company didn't comment on either the problem or proposed solution.

Palm announced that it is to offer and unlocked  version of its new Treo handset, while Japan is making yet another attempt to export its mobile technology, this time using the wallet phone as its spearhead.

It's also been a busy week for Vodafone, which finally gained control of Ghana Telecom and bought Sarmady, the region's biggest digital content provider.

In Europe it is in negotiations to buy a further stake in Polish mobile operator Polkomtel from shareholder TDC, while in its home market, the UK, it will raise prepay call charges by 33% from next week.

A report alleged that the British pay up to 70% too much for their broadband, while 3 UK is to challenge the entire premise of termination rates in the Appeal Court early next year.

The GSM Association bragged that there are now more than 50 million mobile broadband users around the world. It didn't produce any statistics though about the rate of dissatisfaction among them about transmission speeds and abruptly ended data sessions.

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