SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Ericsson AB has developed its first module to bring high-speed cellular data to notebooks and other client devices, challenging a market where Qualcomm reigns and crossing swords at the Intel Developer Forum with Intel which is promoting adoption of WiMax. The Swedish base station giant aims to accelerate adoption of cellular data use, especially in laptops and home routers.
The Ericsson F3507 module delivers High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) at rates of 7.2 Mbits/second for a downlink and 2 Mbits/s for an uplink. The mini PCI device includes a third-party global positioning system chip and consumes a total 2W peak.
Ericsson aims to compete on price with Qualcomm when the modules ship in January. The company would not disclose its target price yet, but said its strong patent position and use of mainly in-house chips would make its costs significantly lower than competitors such as Novatel and Sierra Wireless who buy chips and pay significant royalties to Qualcomm.
The Swedish company has its own microelectronics division that supplies chips to as many as 20 cellular handset makers including its sister company Sony Ericsson. It hopes as many as 50 percent of notebook computers adopt HSPA modules by 2011 and that it can become the leading supplier of those modules.
In addition to notebooks, Ericsson is aiming the modules at a variety of OEMs including makers of home Internet routers and gateways that use cellular in areas not served by DSL. The company will offer OEMs access to its pre-certification testing services for the chips, modules and full-fledged systems using them.
The shift to flat rate pricing for HSPA services is driving growth for the business with carriers such as AT&T in the US and others in Austria, Italy and Sweden, said Victoria Eklund, director of marketing for modules at Ericsson.
The move is a strategic one for Ericsson which hopes a rise in mobile data clients generates more opportunities for its core network switching business.
At IDF, Intel said it will ship in 2008 its Echo Peak chip set that supports both Wi-Fi and WiMax. Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Panasonic and Toshiba announced they will use the chip set in notebooks shipping in mid-2008.