Ultra Mobile Broadband goes the way of the dodo

Qualcomm switches attention to LTE

Qualcomm switches attention to LTE

The ongoing fight to be a next-generation wireless contender has lost one of its combatants, as Qualcomm announced it's dropping development of its own-brand UMB (Ultra Mobile Broadband) standard.

Mobile broadband technology UMB was designed to complement 3G deployments, offering low latency and higher speed up and downlinks to help operators deal with increasing data-intensive mobile services such as video.

Now, the chipmaker has pulled work on the technology and will instead concentrate on LTE (long term evolution), the cellular standard that's likely to succeed today's HSDPA rollouts.

Qualcomm CEO Dr Paul Jacobs told an analyst day in New York on Thursday economic uncertainty has prompted the company to undertake some "resource reallocation".

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"We've prioritised and said 'we're not going to do certain programmes', took the resources off those programmes and put them onto other programmes, " he said.

"A great example of that is our Ultra Mobile Broadband technology where we stopped the commercial development on that - we weren't getting as much traction as we'd like. We took the resources off that, we put them onto our LTE programme but in addition, we put them on the LTE advanced programme where we believe there's a great opportunity to actually significantly increase the performance of the network," Jacobs said.

"Given the environment, we're being more cautious about investments," Jacobs added.

The company has capped its headcount growth in an effort to cut expenses and has done some "slight layoffs, small and focused things" but no large scale job losses are expected.

"While we're pulling in a little bit, we're not pulling in completely - we're not just focused on the near term and ignoring the long term," he added.

The race among 4G standards continues, however. LTE looks likely to see the widest uptake in the coming years. Its main competitor, WiMax, will take a short term lead, analysts say, as mobile networks have yet to rollout LTE while there are a number of WiMax deployments already up and running.