Qualcomm to buy Flarion for $600 million

Acquired Lucent spinoff brings Qualcomm wireless IP technology

Qualcomm Inc. has agreed to buy Flarion Technologies Inc., a developer of wireless broadband OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access) technology.

Under the deal announced Thursday, Qualcomm will pay US$600 million to buy Flarion, in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Flarion, a spinoff of Lucent Technologies Inc., has been testing the wireless IP (Internet Protocol) technology in the U.S. since 2003.

In addition to OFDMA, Flarion also pioneered Flash (fast low-latency access with seamless hand-off) OFDMA for mobile IP-based broadband services.

Flash-OFDM is a proprietary cellular broadband technology that network operators can deploy either to link notebook computers of mobile users or serve as a fixed wireless access system, bridging the "last mile" to connect computers in homes and small offices. Key features include an all-IP architecture and fast speeds.

The technology enables users traveling at 250 kilometers per hour, for instance, to download data at speeds up to 1.5M bps (bits per second) or upload at speeds up to 500K bps.

Last year, Siemens AG struck a deal with Flarion to integrate Flash OFDM into its new broadband wireless access systems, while T-Mobile International AG, one of Europe's largest mobile operators and providers of new 3G (third-generation) mobile Internet services, began the Continent's first trial of Flash OFDMA technology in The Hague, Netherlands.

Qualcomm is a key supplier of CDMA (Code Division Multiplex Access) mobile communications technology, which is widely used in the U.S. and parts of Asia.

By acquiring Flarion, Qualcomm aims to support operators that prefer an OFDMA or hybrid OFDM/CDMA offering to differentiate their services, said Qualcomm, in San Diego, California.

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