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11/30/2009
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Infineon, Nokia Collaborating On LTE Chips

The companies are working to ensure that Infineon's processors work with Nokia's 4G modems.

Infineon said Wednesday it is teaming with Nokia to create chips for the next generation of mobile broadband.

The chipmaker already supplies the world's largest handset maker with some chips, but it will be collaborating with Nokia to ensure its transceiver chips will work with Nokia's 4G modems that use Long-Term Evolution technology. The deal could also eventually lead to Infineon supplying LTE chips for future Nokia smartphones and mobile computing devices.

The collaboration is another sign that the transition to 4G is gaining momentum, and the chip space is already seeing some stiff competition. Chip-making giant Qualcomm recently introduced a new family of multi-mode chips that can support HSPA and LTE technologies at the same time. This is important because many mobile operators that are moving to 4G networks need a 3G fallback until the LTE networks are fully built out.

There is still a bit of a standards battle going on with the next generation of mobile broadband, as companies such as Clearwire and Sprint Nextel are betting on WiMax technology for its 4G networks. The companies are already delivering up to 6 Mbps to mobile users in various markets, and the companies will blanket 120 million people with WiMax by the end of 2010.

The vast majority of mobile operators around the world have settled on LTE for the next generation of mobile broadband. Verizon Wireless has laid out the most ambitious deployment plans among the major operators; it is aiming to cover up to 30 markets with LTE networks by the end of 2010. LTE networks have the potential to provide up to 100 Mbps downlink speed, but real-life implementation will likely result in lower speeds.

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