Mitsubishi, NEC license technology for 3G phones

Two Japanese mobile phone makers, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and NEC Corp., this week signed licensing agreements giving them access to technology for use in handsets designed for third-generation (3G) wireless services.

The licensing deals come as Japanese vendors are positioning themselves in the race to supply handsets to NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s largest mobile phone carrier, which is scheduled to launch its first 3G services in Tokyo in May of next year.

Tokyo-based NEC on Wednesday announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with ARM Ltd. that will allow the Japanese company to use the ARM946E-S 32-bit microprocessor as a building block for LSI (large scale integrated circuits) chips for 3G handsets. Initially, NEC plans to integrate the ARM chip in handsets designed for use over WCDMA (wideband code division multiple access) networks in Japan, the company said in a statement. Financial terms were not disclosed.

On Tuesday, San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc. said that it has extended Mitsubishi’s existing CDMA license to include the development, manufacture and sale of handsets for all 3G-network technologies, such as WCDMA, cdma2000 and TD-SCDMA, that are covered by Qualcomm’s patent portfolio.

Under the terms of the expanded agreement, Mitsubishi will pay Qualcomm an up-front “multi-million dollar” license fee for the rights to use the 3G technologies. Mitsubishi will also pay royalties at the same rates as those it pays for current CDMA equipment, Qualcomm said in a statement.

ARM, in Cambridge, England, can be reached at Mitsubishi Electric, in Tokyo, is at NEC, in Tokyo, is Qualcomm, in San Diego, is at