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Teemu made some important points that apparently only another Finn can appreciate right now:

"1. After years of talks we are far away from a single standard. Latest proposal for 'single' standard actually contains 3 incompatible 'optional' standards in one (one is downwards compatible w/CDMA, one with GSM). It may not be possible to settle the downward compatibility issue for years.

2. IPR issues are unsettled. QCOM wants to charge everybody else for using CDMA and others are collecting their own patents and invalidating QCOMs. Since this is a life and death issue to QCOM and others will refuse paying this may hold 3G at standstill for years."

What people are overlooking now is that the third generation digital standard W-CDMA, accepted by ETSI earlier this year, was created by Ericsson and Nokia. The competing proposal, formulated by Alcatel, Siemens and Motorola, was defeated in that vote. Qualcomm has been championing yet another proposal.

What is happening with operators? Korea's leading CDMA operator chose Nokia as a development partner. Japan's leading operator chose both Ericsson and Nokia as W-CDMA development partners. N&E are conducting further development work on W-CDMA with Chinese and several European operators. As far as I know, Qualcomm is not a partner in any of these early implementation programs.

So now many US analysts are portraying Qualcomm as the father of the third generation digital mobile standard. Really? Nokia and Ericsson created W-CDMA to be the optimal upgrade for the existing GSM networks, won the crucial ETSI vote and landed development deals with the leading Asian and European operators. They both have several W-CDMA patents. But the actual IPR licensing fees are completely up in the air. Nothing has been resolved. Yes, W-CDMA uses technology patented by Qualcomm. It also uses technology patented by dozens of other companies.

In my opinion, the key here is that W-CDMA is now the most likely core for any global, unified standard. And W-CDMA is something Qualcomm opposed vehemently - they would have preferred to get their own third generation proposal accepted internationally. They didn't. Now they are not in the loop as far as development of actual W-CDMA products is concerned. I think that companies actually making W-CDMA products are interesting long term investment choices - not just companies getting a piece of the licensing fee action.


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