Qualcomm and TDK float JV to tap RFFE modules market

African smartphone user image by pri .org
Chipset maker Qualcomm announced 51:49 joint venture with TDK Corporation to tap the RF front-end (RFFE) modules and RF filters market.

The joint venture RF360 Holdings Singapore will have global presence, with R&D, manufacturing and/or sales locations in the US, Europe and Asia and its headquarters function in Munich, Germany.

The joint venture will utilize TDK’s capabilities in micro-acoustic RF filtering, packaging and module integration technologies and Qualcomm’s expertise in wireless technologies to serve customers with RF solutions into integrated systems.

RFFE will be an $18 billion opportunity by 2020 with filters acting as a driver of this opportunity. The filter assets that will reside in RF360 Holdings currently are among the top 3 in the industry. TDK is currently shipping in excess of 25 million filter functions per day, and growing, and holds design wins at all major handset OEMs.

TDK, and subsequently RF360 Holdings, will be investing in capacity to meet the growing industry demand. The main focus areas will be mobile devices and segments such as Internet of Things (IoT), drones, robotics and automotive applications.

The business that will be transferred constitutes a part of the TDK SAW Business Group activities and the current run rate is approaching $1 billion of sales per annum and approximately 4200 employees are involved in that business.

In addition to creating RF360 Holdings, Qualcomm and TDK will expand their collaboration around key technology fields, including sensors and wireless charging.

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, said: “The joint venture’s RF filters will enable us to expand our growth opportunity by allowing us to accelerate our strategy to provide OEMs across our business segments with fully integrated systems.”

Smartphones must support frequency bands for 2G, 3G and 4G LTE, while offering connectivity for wireless LAN, satellite navigation, Bluetooth, and more. Manufacturers of wireless solutions for mobile IoT devices must achieve new levels of miniaturization, integration and performance, especially for the RFFE in these devices.

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