Qualcomm Completes Acquisition Of WiMAX Competitor

Besides competing with WiMAX in the short-term, FLASH-OFDM technology developed by Flarion Technologies could form the basis of 4G wireless broadband eventually offered by cellular operators.

January 19, 2006

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Cellular technology giant Qualcomm said Thursday it has completed its acquisition of Flarion Technologies, which has developed a wireless broadband technology that competes with WiMAX.

Qualcomm said it paid about $600 million in cash and stock for the company, which developed FLASH-OFDM technology and a similar technology, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access (OFDMA). In addition, the company said it could pay as much as $205 million more if certain business goals are met.

Many industry analysts believe that technologies like FLASH-OFDM and OFDMA will be at the heart of 4G technology that the cellular operators will eventually deploy.

"While CDMA remains the optimal technology to provide broadband, spectrally efficient, mobile wide area wireless networks for the foreseeable future, OFDMA's low complexity at wide signal bandwidths makes it a potential alternative where large blocks of spectrum can be dedicated," Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul E. Jacobssaid in a statement. "This acquisition greatly enhances Qualcomm's ability to accelerate the development of both CDMA and OFDMA in support of its customers and partners."

In the meantime, Flarion had been marketing FLASH-OFDM as an already-mobile alternative to WiMAX, which isn't yet mobile.This is the second business story about WiMAX competitors to appear this week. Wednesday, Sprint Nextel said it had increased its investment in IPWireless, which has developed yet another technology that competes with WiMAX.

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