Seeking to add to its traditional strengths in 3G cellular solutions, Broadcom moved to stake out a position in 4G by acquiring Beceem Communications, a leader in long-term evolution (LTE) and WiMax wireless technology. Broadcom said it will pay $316 million for Beceem.
Announced Wednesday, the acquisition would give Broadcom access to Beceem's pioneering 4G multimode LTE-WiMax network expertise, which supports peak download speeds up to 200 Mbps. The deal would also place Broadcom in direct competition with Qualcomm over the rapidly emerging LTE and WiMax technologies.
"The combination of Beceem and Broadcom creates a leader in providing multimode wireless connectivity solutions to service providers and equipment manufacturers around the world," said Broadcom's Scott Bibaud in a statement. "Beceem's talented teams of engineers in India and the U.S. have been focused on enabling a 4G ecosystem of operators and equipment manufacturers to drive the deployment of 4G networks." Bibaud is Broadcom's executive VP & general manager of the firm's mobile platforms group.
Beceem served notice in February 2008 that the startup was a 4G force to be reckoned with when it was selected by Clearwire to be the primary silicon provider for its WiMax launch. Another contract followed with Sprint, which has since taken over control of Clearwire. The 4G WiMax provider has been running trials in Arizona to test compatibility issues of LTE and WiMax.
Commenting on Beceem's pending acquisition by Broadcom, Beceem CEO Surendra Babu Mandava said carriers and providers will be able to upgrade their 3G and 2G networks utilizing Broadcom's expertise and move relatively seamlessly to 4G by utilizing Beceem's product portfolio. "Our combined offering," he said, "will be one of the most extensive and formidable in the industry."
The companies noted also that Beceem's 4G products will combine well with Broadcom's wireless LAN, Bluetooth, GPS, Ethernet switching, and other associated IP products.
Broadcom said the boards of directors of both companies have approved the acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of March 2011.
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