Qualcomm follows rivals to India

The customers are there
Written by Ron Coates, Contributor

The customers are there

US mobile technology pioneer Qualcomm is to set up a major software and chip design lab in India.

The company was at great pains to explain that this was part of a major expansion of its R&D efforts globally.

Jeff Belk, senior vp of marketing at Qualcomm, said: "This is part of our global expansion of R&D. We are hiring around 100 a month in the US and will be hiring close to 200 in Europe."

The Indian investment has not been finalised but Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm's president, is on record as saying that the new centre will employ over 100 and would be a "significant investment".

The company is already a major player in the world's fastest-growing market - 1.6 million handsets a month at last count - with deals with several operators for its chipsets. Rivals Texas Instruments and Motorola have already set up development sites in India.

Qualcomm expects total shipments of CDMA handsets in India to exceed 13 million by September. The total number in use in India in February was 6.75 million. The company has close ties to Reliance, the fastest-growing nationwide operator.

And it has just signed a deal for push-to-talk services with another major operator, Tata - a subsidiary of the eponymous Indian conglomerate. Tata Teleservices will become one of the first CDMA operators outside of the US to offer push-to-talk.

Belk is extremely bullish for the prospects for 3G based on CDMA. "It's turning from about-to-happen to happening," he said.

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