Qualcomm and TDK Corp said they have formed a $3 billion joint venture to supply key components and modules used to communicate wirelessly with devices like smartphones, drones, robots and Internet of things. The two companies announced an agreement to form a joint venture to enable delivery of RF front-end (RFFE) modules and RF filters into fully integrated systems for mobile devices and business segments, such as Internet of Things (IoT), drones, robotics, automotive applications and more, under the name RF360 Holdings Singapore PTE. Ltd. The joint venture will draw upon TDK’s capabilities in micro-acoustic RF filtering, packaging and module integration technologies and Qualcomm’s expertise in wireless technologies to offer RF solutions into fully integrated systems.
In addition to creating RF360 Holdings, Qualcomm and TDK will expand their collaboration around other technology fields, including sensors and wireless charging.
The agreement is subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and other closing conditions and is expected to close by early 2017.
Current and future smartphones must support dozens of frequency bands for 2G, 3G and 4G LTE, while offering connectivity for wireless LAN, satellite navigation, Bluetooth, and more. In addition, the convergence of 4G mobile communications and the IoT means that manufacturers of wireless solutions for mobile IoT devices must achieve new levels of miniaturization, integration and performance, especially for the RFFE in these devices. Further, 5G will expand this complexity even more. Module solutions will be essential to supporting this increasing complexity in the RFFE.
Together with RF360 Holdings, QTI will be positioned to design products from the modem/transceiver to the antenna in a fully integrated system.
RF360 Holdings will have a set of filters and filter technologies, including surface acoustic wave (SAW), temperature-compensated surface acoustic wave (TC-SAW) and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) to support the wide range of frequency bands being deployed in networks across the globe. Moreover, RF360 Holdings will enable the delivery of RFFE modules that will include front-end components designed and developed by QTI. These components include CMOS, SOI and GaAS Power Amplifiers3, a broad portfolio of Switches enhanced via a recent acquisition, Antenna Tuning and the Envelope Tracking solution.
In addition to the joint venture, Qualcomm and TDK have agreed to deepen their technological cooperation to cover a wide range of technologies for next-generation mobile communications, IoT and automotive applications, including passive components, batteries, wireless charging, sensors, MEMS and more.
RF360 Holdings will initially be owned 51 percent by Qualcomm Global Trading PTE. Ltd. and 49 percent by EPCOS AG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TDK (EPCOS). As part of their agreement, filter and module design and manufacturing assets, plus related patents, will be carved out from TDK and its subsidiaries and be largely acquired by RF360 Holdings, with certain assets being acquired directly by Qualcomm affiliates.