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Qualcomm's halt of deal with ITRI could hurt Taiwan's 5G development

2017/11/05 14:05:40

Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) Qualcomm Inc.'s suspension of its 5G technology development collaboration with Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) will likely affect Taiwan's 5G technology development, Technology Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said Sunday.

Qualcomm made the decision to halt the deal with ITRI shortly after the Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission imposed a NT$23.4 billion (US$793 million) fine on the firm for antitrust regulation violations on Oct. 11.

Noting that Taiwan maintains competitive and cooperative ties with the U.S.-based smartphone chip designer, Chen said it is difficult to say whether it is advantageous or disadvantageous to cooperate with Qualcomm.

Qualcomm's withdrawal from the cooperative deal with ITRI might be good for Taiwan-based chip designer MediaTek Inc. to accelerate its industrial development, Chen said.

MediaTek recently announced that in a joint trial conducted with Japan's largest mobile operator by subscribers, NTT DOCOMO, it has successfully developed a chipset to increase the spectral efficiency of mobile devices by up to 2.3 times compared with existing LTE technology.

MeiaTek in conjunction with China's Huawei also led with the completion of the Interoperability Development Testing (IODT) of 5G New Radio in the condition of enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and Ultra Density Network (UDN) scenarios.

However, Chen said that while the FTC made the decision of slapping the heavy fine to Qualcomm based on its legal professionalism, it would be even better for Taiwan's general industrial development, if it could have solicited the input of experts before making its decision.

With Taiwan's limited resources, it needs international partners to venture into the global market, according to Chen.

Given that Qualcomm's leadership in 5G-related technologies, if the collaboration deal with ITRI is forged, it will provide ITRI early access to Qualcomm Technologies' key 5G small cell technology, including the creation of industry-grade quality assurance capability for communication protocol products, Chen said.

But with Qualcomm's withdrawal from the cooperation deal, Taiwan's development of 5G technology development will somewhat be affected, Chen added.

Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said last month that it has decided to impose a fine of NT$23.4 billion on Qualcomm, accusing the U.S. tech giant of violating the country's Taiwan Fair Trade Act by taking advantage of its monopoly status to prevent other smartphone designers from competing in the Taiwan market for at least seven years.

The ITRI confirmed on Oct. 25 that Qualcomm has unilaterally suspended its ongoing 5G cooperation.

Qualcomm has also said that it will appeal the FTC's decision.

(By Liao Yu-yang and Evelyn Kao)
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