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Nokia, Sanyo Team To Topple Samsung In CDMA

TOKYO — Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. and Nokia Corp. announced Tuesday (Feb. 16) that they have reached a preliminary joint-venture agreement to merge their respective CDMA mobile-phone businesses in a bid to unseat CDMA market leader Samsung.

“The target is to become the top CDMA company in the world,” said Takenori Ugari, president of Sanyo Telecom Co.'s Personal Electronics Group. Sanyo first sounded out Nokia about the possibility of the joint venture last summer.

The move would spin out and merge the companies' cdma2000-related operations but keep their GSM and W-CDMA operations internal. The joint venture would comprise Nokia's CDMA business in San Diego and Sanyo's CDMA-related operations bases in Osaka and Tottori, Japan. The partners intend to sign the definitive final agreement in the second quarter, with the new business beginning operations in the third quarter.

“This is a preliminary agreement of our partnership in a new company. The details are being finalized. But the new entity will be operated in the spirit of equal partnership,” said Timo Ihamuotila, senior vice president in charge of the CDMA business unit of Nokia's mobile-phone division.

“The exact branding strategy is still under discussion, but we won't go for a new brand," Ihamuotila added.

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