Chipmaker Qualcomm has bought out the remaining interest in RF360 Holdings, a joint venture it set up with Japan’s TDK Corporation in 2017, saying ownership of the firm lets it offer “a complete end-to-end solution from modem to antenna”.
The move deepens Qualcomm’s 5G component portfolio as 4G chipset sales slump but 5G component opportunities grow, and gives it full ownership of a key supplier.
The acquisition is the final step to “formally bring in-house more than 20 years of expertise in RFFE filtering”, Qualcomm said today – referring to the range of components between the antenna and modem of a wireless device.
The total purchase price, including initial investment, payments to TDK based on sales by the JV (51 percent owned by Qualcomm at formation), and development obligations, will be $3.1 billion, it said, buying out a remaining $1.15 billion interest.
“Qualcomm Technologies’ second generation RFFE solutions for its 5G portfolio will further enable OEM customers to design thin, high-performance, battery-efficient 5G multimode devices at scale and on time”, the company said today.
The move comes as Qualcomm looks to ramp up sales of smartphone components beyond modems, diversifying its portfolio further amid a range of industry headwinds including Apple’s long-term ambition to drop Qualcomm chipsets.
The acquisition gives it outright ownership of technologies used to support a wide range of frequency bands being deployed in networks across the globe as 5G is rolled out.
Qualcomm said it now has “one of the broadest portfolios of RFFE products, including integrated and discrete micro-acoustic components utilizing RFFE filter technologies such as BAW, SAW, TC-SAW, as well as Thin Film SAW.”
All of these, the company added, “are core to developing and producing filters, duplexers, multiplexers for discrete, power amplifiers and diversity modules, as well as n-plexers and extractors for the very complex front end necessary for today’s leading mobile phones and connected devices.”