Qualcomm targets operators

The global provider has set up office in the Middle East, and is planning on bringing the benefits of its new HSPA+ chipset to regional telecom operators.

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By  Sathya Mithra Ashok Published  October 27, 2008

The global provider has set up office in the Middle East, and is planning on bringing the benefits of its new HSPA+ chipset to regional telecom operators.

Qualcomm, designer and supplier of CDMA chipsets, network base stations and handsets among others, is planning on targeting regional telecom operators with its recently launched MDM8200 chipset. This new product is based on the latest HSPA+ network technology.

The company, which recently completed a data call using the chipset at the transfer rate of more than 20Mbits/sec in a 5MHz channel, believes that the chipset and the technology base will prove to be of relevance to service providers across the Middle East.

You can see the difference in performance and the very real possibility of offering much more advanced services.

"If you look at the region, most countries in the GCC and in the UAE have HSPA. With this, they are able to achieve speeds of a little more than 7Mbits/sec.

The HSPA+ can take this performance to a higher tier, with our chipset which is built into the phone, to support 20Mbits/sec. That will be almost three times what you can get today with the most advanced HSPA network," points out Hani Yassin, director, business development for the Middle East at Qualcomm.

"You can see the difference in performance and the very real possibility of offering more advanced services. It will prove effective in enhancing user experience by offering them more hit rates, and it is good for operators as they can segment their offerings across different markets, and at the same time charge more for better performance rates," states Yassin.

Since the first call was made quite recently, Yassin warns that a little more development is necessary, before proper deployment can start. He asserts that Qualcomm is still involved in testing the technology in its labs, and states that a lot of co-ordination will be necessary between the company and its partners, before the technology can be brought confidently into commercial service.

According to him, Qualcomm will start trials with some operators in Europe and Australia in the near future.

"We are planning on trials by the end of 2008. Once they have considered the technology, we hope to see deployments in 2009. You have to note that we control only the device-side, and there is work that is needed on the network itself. We are working with our partners to ensure seamless interoperability between the device and the network," says Yassin.

However, he adds, since HSPA+ is only the evolution of an existing technology, it will entail only ‘incremental investment' for upgrading networks in most cases, with which operators will be able to double their capacity for voice and data.

The company, which opened an office in Dubai earlier this year, believes that the technology will market itself and operators will implement it when they become aware of its advantages. The first priority for the seven member staff, according to Yassin, is building awareness on Qualcomm itself.

"The major challenge is getting our name more widely recognised, and getting people to understand the value that we can bring. We don't really deal with products; everything that we sell goes into either base stations or mobile phones, which are not visible to the consumer.

We need to work with partners, we need to explain the value we can add, and get them to understand the value of working with us long term," says Yassin.

He assures that the Middle East office will help operators, regardless of whether they opt for HSPA+ technology or not.

"We understand that different operators will make different technology decisions based on the way they see their business, and we are committed to support all of them, regardless of their decision," concludes Yassin.

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