Fujitsu Heads New Smartphone Chip Venture
Fujitsu will team with Fujitsu Semiconductor, NTT Docomo and NEC on a new venture to develop and sell chips for smartphones, an effort that could provide stiff competition to mobile stalwart Qualcomm, the dominant chip supplier for smartphones and tablets.
The joint venture, called Access Network Technology Ltd. and initially set up by Fujitsu, is waiting on capital investments from DoCoMo, Fujitsu Semiconductor and NEC before it begins operations later this month. The investors will capitalize the company with 100 million yen or about US $1.28 million, Fujitsu said in a statement.
Fujitsu owns 52.8 percent of Access, with the remainder split at Docomo’s 19.9 percent, NEC’s 17.8 percent and Fujitsu Semiconductor at a 9.5 percent stake. Minoru Sakata, Fujitsu’s mobile phone unit president, will run the new company, which is expected to employ some 85 people.
The joint venture, “while enhancing management responsiveness, will bring together technologies from each of the companies to develop industry-leading communications platform products, and will provide customers with highly competitive products to meet their needs,” the companies said.
Each vendor will bring its own technologies to the venture and pool resources to build new platforms. Fujitsu, Docomo and NEC previously have collaborated to develop new communications platforms but stopped short of formalizing their relationships into a company to compete head-to-head for mobile chip market share.
According to a Reuters report, Access also will look into technology for high-speed Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks and next generation networks, initially hoping to snag about 7 percent of the mobile chip segment within two years. The report indicated that Access will outsource production of its mobile chipsets.
As smartphones and tablets enter the enterprise in greater numbers, mobile chip production and supply — especially shortfalls — certainly will move to center stage, not only for OEMs but also for channel partners expanding into larger accounts. Two weeks ago, Qualcomm reaffirmed that it can’t meet demand for its newest Snapdragon processors, used in popular Android-based devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy S III — an issue the chip maker first reported in April.