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Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:13

Nokia to transfer 3G modem business to Renesas for $US200m


Nokia is selling its wireless modem business to Japanese chipmaker, Renesas Electronics Corporation for $US200m along with 1,100 employees and the two will form an alliance to develop modem technologies for HSPA+/LTE and its evolution.

Nokia will also transfer patents related to these assets and approximately 1,100 Nokia R&D staff, the vast majority of whom are located in Finland, India, the UK and Denmark. The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2010.

The modems have been installed in billions of Nokia handsets over many years. According to Nokia, "The alliance is planned to be enhanced by long-term joint research cooperation on future radio technologies."

According to Nokia, the transfer of its wireless modem business will enable Renesas Electronics "to maximise the value of Nokia's technology assets and engineering expertise in delivering advanced mobile platform solutions to the market by combining them with Renesas Electronics' market-proven multimedia processing and RF technologies."

Nokia EVP, Kai Oistamo, said: "Wireless modems are an integral part of today's chipset solutions, and we believe that Renesas Electronics, as one of the key chipset vendors in the market, is in an ideal position to further develop this offering. The alliance enables us to continue to focus on our own core businesses, connecting people to what matters to them with our mobile products and solutions."

Renesas Electronics has licensed the Nokia modem since 2009 and says the two companies have been working together to develop an industry-leading HSPA+/LTE platform. "I believe that the integration of the world class Nokia wireless modem into Renesas Electronics' strong multimedia processing and RF capabilities, places Renesas Electronics in a strong position in HSPA+/LTE chipsets," said Oistamo.


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"Together with Renesas Electronics' robust line-up of application processors, RF transceiver ICs, high power amplifiers, and power management devices, the wireless modem technologies enable Renesas Electronics to deliver a complete mobile platform solution to the market."

While it might have put modems into billions of handsets, Nokia's involvement in the market of HSPA modems for embedding in other devices has had a chequered history. Nokia and Intel announced, in September 2006, plans to work together to produce HSPA modems for embedding in laptops but Nokia abandoned the venture in February 2007 claiming it could not see a sufficiently strong business case. Then in June 2009 Nokia and Intel announced an alliance to develop future mobile computing devices and underlying chipset architectures.

Renesas Electronics was created on 1 April 2010 through a merger of NEC Electronics with Renesas Technology - a seven year old joint venture between Mitsubishi and Hitachi.

NEC Electronics claimed to "specialise in semiconductor products encompassing advanced technology solutions for the high-end computing and broadband networking markets, system solutions for the mobile handset, PC peripheral, automotive and digital consumer markets, and multi-market solutions for a wide range of customer applications."

Renesas claimed to be "the world's No.1 supplier of microcontrollers '¦one of the world's leading semiconductor system solutions '¦ [and] a leading provider of Power MOSFETs, smart card microcontrollers, RF-ICs, high power amplifiers, mixed signal ICs, system-on-chip (SoC), system-in-package (SiP) and more."


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