NTT Docomo to start LTE chips JV

Japanese mobile operator partners five other companies to create new entity focusing on developing smartphone chips for long-term evolution (LTE) standards, says company.

Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo will be partnering five other Asian companies to set up a fabless joint venture to develop and sell semiconductor chips for mobile devices based on long-term evolution (LTE) standards.

The company issued a statement Tuesday saying it had entered into a basic agreement with Fujitsu, Fujitsu Semiconductor, NEC, Panasonic Mobile Communications and Samsung Electronics to set up the company by end-March next year, though final details are still being worked out. The new entity will focus on developing LTE and LTE-Advanced chips, which will be sold globally, it added.

With the six participating companies' strong backgrounds in cellular communication technology and vast experience in application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) design and foundry manufacturing, the joint venture will look to develop "feature-rich, small-size, low power consumption semiconductor products equipped with modem functionality", NTT Docomo noted.

To prepare for the joint venture company, the mobile operator will be investing 450 million yen (US$5.8 million) to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary--Communication Platform Planning--by mid-January, it said. The subsidiary will be led by the company's executive vice president and chief technical officer, Mitsunobu Komori.