Ban on Qualcomm's 3G chips: $21.1B at stake?

As the White House ponders whether to veto the International Trade Commission's ban on mobile devices containing Qualcomm's 3G chipsets, the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) renewed its concern about the impact of the ban, citing a report from The Brattle Group that says $21.1 billion could be at stake for U.S. consumers and producers.

"CTIA-The Wireless Association is deeply concerned that the ITC order banning new models of wireless broadband handsets will cause unprecedented economic harm to tens of millions of American wireless consumers, and because of that we urge President Bush to veto the order," said CTIA CEO Steve Largent.

The ITC banned the import of new cell phones made with Qualcomm 1xEV-DO and WCDMA chipsets. The ITC says those chipsets infringe upon patents held by Broadcom. Qualcomm is pursuing a presidential veto and an appeal in federal court. White House vetoes of ITC orders are rare, with the last such presidential veto of an ITC decision coming more than 20 years ago. The White House has until August 6 to act on the request for a veto.

The Brattle Group analysis concludes that the ITC order will cause direct economic damage to U.S. consumers and producers, ranging between $4.3 billion and $21.1 billion and will cause billions more in lost productivity across the U.S. economy. The direct economic harm to consumers alone could be as high as $17.7 billion, the report says.

For more about CTIA's concerns and The Brattle Group's report:
- read this release
- check out the report