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Qualcomm Acquires Wireless Broadband Vendor Flarion

In a move that could dramatically alter the wireless broadband landscape, cellular technology vendor Qualcomm said Thursday it was acquiring wireless broadband equipment vendor Flarion Technologies.

Flarion has been champion of FLASH-OFDM technology, which competes directly with WiMAX, which is being championed by Intel. While both deliver typical speeds to end users in excess of 1 Mbps, FLASH-OFDM is mobile now while mobile WiMAX won't be available, even in pre-standard form, for at least a year.

The deal is valued at about $600, with conditions, if met, that could add an additional $205 million in value to the deal, Qualcomm said in a statement.

Qualcomm is best known for its pioneering work in CDMA technology, which is used by large U.S. cellular operators such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Besides owning intellectual property related to CDMA, Qualcomm also makes CDMA chipsets for infrastructure equipment and phones.

The acquisition will allow Qualcomm to offer cellular carriers diversity in terms of the type of fast wireless access they offer, the company said in a statement. It means that carriers can choose between next-generation 3G cellular data service, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access (OFDMA), which is the basis of Flarion's FLASH-OFDM, or both.

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