The chances ofa single standard technology for third-generation (3G) mobile phones have risen, with Ericsson and Qualcomm announcing that they have settled their legal dispute and reached agreement on which technologies should be developed.
The two firms have been locked in a legal battle since 1996 when Qualcomm alleged that Ericsson was engaging in unfair competition. Ericsson alleged that Qualcomm's CDMA technology violated Ericsson patents. Both say they have now settled these disputes and will jointly support a single world standard for CDMA with three optional modes for 3G phones: direct-sequence FDD (frequency division duplex); multi-carrier FDD; and TDD (time division duplex).
The agreement will provide for cross-licensing of intellectual property rights (IPRs) for all CDMA technologies including cdmaOne, WCDMA and CDMA2000. Qualcomm will receive rights to sublicense certain Ericsson patents to its application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) customers, while Ericsson will buy Qualcomm's terrestrial wireless CDMA infrastructure in San Diego and Colorado.
In New Zealand Ericsson corporate marketing manager Steve Inglis says the news has come as a surprise, "and we're still coming to terms with the implications".