Feeds

Will Europe fall in love with Qualcomm, now it owns Flarion 4G technology?

Or will it reject Flarion because it's Qualcomm?

High performance access to file storage

Comment Qualcomm owns most of the patents involved in cellular telephony. It may be exaggerating to say that the ITU picked TDMA technology instead of CDMA technology for GSM simply because nobody liked Qualcomm... but the fact is, nobody did like Qualcomm, and still, today, particularly in Europe: "nobody likes Qualcomm."

But a lot of people actually like Flarion, and not just because it wasn't Qualcomm, but because it solves a big technical problem facing the European phone business.

Today, Qualcomm announced that it is acquiring Flarion, lock, stock and staff, including intellectual property, for $600m odd. Suddenly, Europe's 3G phone networks have a choice: both easier, and harder, than it was a month ago.

Their problem was how to move into the internet. The next generation of cellphones was expected to be WCDMA, also Qualcomm-owned... but politics accidentally sabotaged the technology, by picking the 2.1 GHz frequency spectrum for 3G phones.

That technology, at 450 MHz, works very well indeed. As every technologist involved in setting the WCDMA standards for Europe warned, at 2.1 GHz, this isn't true. It works; it just doesn't work at all well inside buildings, and the economics of WCDMA 3G are consequently looking dodgy.

The big obstacle facing WCDMA is VoIP. To carry that, profitably, end to end, you need far more packet-like carrier systems than WCDMA can offer. The cost per bit per user is what matters; Flarion technology has been guestimated to offer between 10X and 30X what technologies like IMS can provide, even if you ignore the latency problems.

What's the alternative? The accepted technology is IP Wireless, which is the orthodox way of moving into broadband wireless data. Now, with Flarion having done a sterling job of selling Flash-OFDM to those countries which rejected the standard, accepted technology, Qualcomm was staring at the loss of its future royalty markets.

Clearly it had to do something, and so it started a charm offensive. The trouble was, nobody in Europe would come to its parties. They really don't like Qualcomm!

The strange thing is that Qualcomm just doesn't understand this.

What Qualcomm does understand, is standards. And what Flarion needs, above all, is standards approval; and the Flash-OFDM technology is currently being pushed through the IEEE as a standard which the operators can accept.

It would be wrong, probably, to suggest that Qualcomm in any way controls the thinking of the IEEE; but the fact is that (as an insider put it today) "They have supported the IEEE in many ways..." and many Qualcomm technical guys and gals sit on IEEE committees, and can vote one way or the other. At a time when CDMA was battling Flash-OFDM, the vote might have gone the other way. Now, it may go the one way.

The result will be that Flash-OFDM will "play out" its process of becoming a standard, both in the ITU and in the IEEE, probably much faster than before.

And that means that all the people who have already re-cycled their 450- MHz phone bands into Flarion trials, will be strongly motivated to expand those trials to full-scale commercial wireless broadband. And those who still have to make their minds up - including France and the UK - will probably think far more enthusiastically about using 450 and 800 MHz bands for broadband wireless if it's a standard that the struggling mobile phone companies can support.

Full text of Qualcomm's Press Release is here.
Finnish rollout of Flash-OFDM
Field report by NewsWireless of Netherlands trials
Vodafone trials of Flarion tech in Japan

© Newswireless.net

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.