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Next-Generation Wireless

Enabling the Speed of Business

One 3G Chipmaker has high hopes for wireless enterprise data.

By Eric M. Zeman

A 23-year veteran of the technology industry, Jeff Belk, senior VP of marketing with Qualcomm, began his time there in 1994 and has held a number of different posts, including business development, handset marketing and general manager of the Eudora email product. Prior to joining Qualcomm, Belk worked at Proxima, a manufacturer of multimedia projection devices, where he held sales, distribution, product and marketing management positions.

Mobile Enterprise:
What are Qualcomm’s plans for supporting and pushing the adoption of 3G technology?

Jeff Belk: We’re working hard on driving the adoption of devices and services, in both CDMA2000 and WCDMA. As long as it’s advanced wireless, we’re behind it. There’s been an amazing proliferation of devices, with more and more embedded laptops coming out, which is going to change the wireless game.

ME: How important is Qualcomm’s relationship with its carrier, handset and OEM laptop partners in accomplishing this goal?

JB: We license core intellectual property to make 3G standards and have 130 licensees for handset manufacturers, test-equipment manufacturers and so on. Our OEMs have a choice of over 20 suppliers of silicon, each of which can pick and choose who they buy from. So Qualcomm has to execute in conjunction with handset and device partners to make form factors, cost characteristics, battery life, etc., compelling to sell to the operators. By no means is the model a slam dunk. Everyone has to jump through a lot of hoops to make it work.

ME: Will the proliferation of high-speed wireless networks enhance enterprise data needs?

JB: I think you’re seeing a shift. Three years ago Wi-Fi was the big thing. We tend to think things happen slowly, but in no time we’ve gone from the non-connected iPAQs and Axims to seeing that PDAs only have utility when they are connected. That is a significant thing for the enterprise. So now in our view you are seeing the same shift with regard to embedded laptops. The $60 monthly fee is a pretty much a slam dunk for the mobile workforce, as well as for the IT department to know they are connected everywhere. As device and service costs come down, the elasticity changes.

ME: How important is BREW as a mobile platform, and do you see it supporting the enterprise?

JB: I think you can look at this two ways. From our QIS division perspective, BREW is the way any enterprise would want to go, but mobile-enabled applications are the key goal. Other platforms are fine, as long as the applications end up on a 3G device. Verizon Wireless supports BREW, and Get It Now, but Sprint Nextel supports Java, and Qualcomm is just as close to Sprint as it is to Verizon. The key thing is to grow enterprise mobile data and make that as efficient and affordable as possible. The concept of driving the technology to bring the performance up and the cost per bit down is very important to the enterprise. The operators are going down this path.

ME: After EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B., what’s next on the technology road map?

JB: The key thing is, a lot of different radios are being built into the devices. Most handsets have GPS and Bluetooth, two different radios running at two different frequencies, serving different needs. We think mobile broadcast will be yet another radio with FLO technology and DVB-H, devices will have Wi-Fi for operators to increase efficiency for offloading calls and so on. It all boils down to having the right radio to perform the right service at the appropriate time.

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