Rumor Mill: Samsung, DoCoMo, others plan JV to break Qualcomm hold on basebands

NTT DoCoMo and several other Japanese firms plan to partner with Samsung on wireless baseband chipsets for smartphones in a bid to reduce their dependence on chip giant Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), according to a report in Japan's Nikkei newspaper. 

The report said that the companies--which also include Fujitsu, NEC and Panasonic's mobile unit--plan to start the joint venture next year, and that NTT DoCoMo will take a majority stake in the venture, which will have a total capitalization of around $390 million. The companies will use the chipsets in their own smartphones and will sell them to others, the report said.

Qualcomm leads the global market in wireless baseband processors, according to a June report from research firm Strategy Analytics, and Nikkei reported that Qualcomm has 80 percent of the baseband market.

A Qualcomm spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A DoCoMo spokesman told IDG News Service that the firm is looking at various tie-ups across its business but that nothing has been decided.

Qualcomm's strong presence in the baseband market owes to its legacy position in CDMA basebands as well as W-CDMA and LTE. Broadcom, Intel and Spreadtrum are among Qualcomm's primary baseband competitors, though MediaTek and ST-Ericsson also play in the market. 

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this IDG News Service article

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