NTT Docomo, Panasonic, Samsung and more team up to take on Qualcomm over cellphone chips

Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo just announced (as had been rumored) it's forming a joint venture with five partners -- Samsung, Panasonic, Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Semiconductor and NEC -- to develop and sell chips for mobile devices. According to the press release the fabless JV will get started once all involved finish hammering out the details and focus on creating LTE-connected products for the global market. NTT Docomo is investing $5.8 million to create a subsidiary, Communication Platform Planning Co., in preparation with one of its executives as CEO. Currently Qualcomm makes the majority of chips found in smartphones, but it appears to have some high-powered competition on the way soon.

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DOCOMO and Five Companies to Set Up Communication Platform Joint Venture Company

TOKYO, JAPAN, December 27, 2011 --- NTT DOCOMO, INC. announced today that it has reached a basic agreement with five companies - Fujitsu Ltd., Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd., NEC Corporation, Panasonic Mobile Communications Co., Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. - to establish a fabless joint venture company by the end of March 2012 to develop and sell semiconductor products for mobile devices.

The joint venture company, leveraging the six investing companies' strong backgrounds in cellular communication technology and vast experience in application specific integrated circuits (ASIC) design and foundry manufacturing, will develop feature-rich, small-size, low-power-consumption semiconductor products equipped with modem functionality. The joint venture company will focus on developing products for LTE and LTE-Advanced mobile communication standards. The products will be sold in markets globally.

The envisioned joint venture company will be formed once all parties agree on the details, which are now being worked out through consultation. Following the basic agreement announced today, and as part of preparing to form the joint venture company, DOCOMO plans to invest 450 million Japanese yen, or about 5.8 million USD*, to establish a wholly owned subsidiary, called Communication Platform Planning Co., Ltd. and headed by CEO Mitsunobu Komori, concurrently an executive vice president and Chief Technical Officer of DOCOMO, by the middle of January.

* USD = 78.13 yen as of November 30, 2011

NTT DOCOMO is a world-leading mobile operator that is in transition into an Integrated Service Company placing mobility at the core. The company serves over 59 million customers in Japan via advanced wireless networks, including a nationwide 3G network and one of the world's first commercial LTE networks. Leveraging its unique capabilities as a mobile operator, DOCOMO is a leading developer of cutting-edge technologies for NFC mobile payments, mobile GPS, mobile TV, intuitive mobile assistance, environmental monitoring, smart grids and much more. Overseas, the company provides technical and operational expertise to eight mobile operators and other partner companies. NTT DOCOMO is listed on the Tokyo (9437), London (NDCM) and New York (DCM) stock exchanges. Please visit for more information.