Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo is planning to make a move into mobile chipsets, with the carrier said to be close to sealing a joint venture with Samsung, Panasonic, Fujitsu and NEC, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
Rumours originally arose in September but, this time around, sources have provided more specific details. Talks between partners are said to be close to completion, with DoCoMo set to take a majority stake in the venture to develop mobile chipsets, which is slated to be set up by March 2012.
The move will be a significant one, as it will offer Samsung — which has seen record sales in 2011 — a new option for the chipsets to, as sources claim, “reduce dependence on Qualcomm”. Currently the Korean maker uses a range of suppliers, but chiefly Qualcomm, whose licensing charges have been the subject of litigation and controversy in the past.
When the joint venture is up and running, Samsung, Panasonic (which is planning a smartphone comeback) and others, will be able to lean on a new vendor for technology, or use it to attempt to drive down the price of chips and technology from Qualcomm and others.
However, as a dedicated chipset specialist, Qualcomm has developed a range of industry leading technology, which the new JV will need to compete with in order to gain market share outside of its partners.
DoCoMo is being tipped to make an imment announcement on the subject, so we hope to have more details very soon.
Update: DoCoMo has officially announced the joint venture, called Communication Platform Planning Co., Ltd in this press release. It has also confirmed that DoCoMo will invest $5.8 million in the organisation, which will be headed up by Mitsunobu Komori, who will also serve as executive VP and CTO at the Japanese operator.