Qualcomm beats expectations for Q3, hikes forecast

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) posted better-than-expected earnings in its fiscal third quarter, bolstered by strong chip sales and global 3G demand. The chipset behemoth also raised its revenue and earnings guidance for the fiscal year.

The company raked in net income of $767 million in the quarter, up 4 percent from the year-ago quarter and down slightly, by 1 percent, from its fiscal second quarter. Qualcomm's revenue clocked in at $2.71 billion, down 2 percent year-over-year, but up 2 percent sequentially. In the previous quarter Qualcomm had warned of a drop in earnings per share of up to 9 percent for the fiscal third quarter.

In terms of key business metrics, Qualcomm said it shipped around 103 million CDMA-MSM chipset units, up 10 percent from the year-ago quarter and up 11 percent from the fiscal second quarter. The company said that during the quarter there were between 134 million and 128 million CDMA-based device shipments, with an average selling price of between $183 and $189 per unit.

Looking ahead, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said in a statement that the company expects 23 percent CDMA growth in the calendar year for 2010. The company said its fiscal fourth quarter revenue likely will be between $2.67 billion and $2.93 billion, with a 10 percent to 19 percent rise in earnings per share.

Jacobs also strongly indicated that Qualcomm plans to sell its struggling FLO TV mobile broadcast unit. During the company's earnings conference call, he said the firm is considering a "number of alternatives" for the unit, but that Qualcomm has already started talking to other companies.

"It will get done in the next year but I don't think I can be much more specific than that," he said. "A lot of interesting discussions. It's early days." Jacobs hinted at the company's Uplinq 2010 conference earlier this month that Qualcomm was looking to unload the unit, which has failed to live up to expectations.

Qualcomm's stock popped more than 8 percent in the morning after the release of its earnings, to around $39 per share.

For more:
- see this release
- see this conference call transcript
- see this AP article
- see this FierceWireless Q2 earnings page

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