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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Qualcomm buys out RF360 for 5G front end filters

By Nick Flaherty

Qualcomm has bought out its partner in the RF360 joint venture that develops complex front end filters for 4G and 5G. 

RF360 was set up with TDK Electronics (formerly EPCOS) to develop RF front end (RFFE) filter technologies such as BAW, SAW, TC-SAW, as well as Thin Film SAW. These are used for developing and producing filters, duplexers, multiplexers for discrete, power amplifiers and diversity modules, as well as n-plexers and extractors.

The deal gives Qualcomm Technologies the complete signal chain from  modem to antenna, combining the Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF System with 5G New Radio (NR) sub-6 and mmWave solutions, integrating power amplifiers, filters, multiplexers, antenna tuning, LNAs, switching and envelope tracking products.

Qualcomm Technologies has already developed wideband envelope tracking and adaptive antenna tuning that combines the modem and RFFE aimed at future smartphone designs.

This acquisition is the final step in the signal chain. “Our goal in the formation of this joint venture was to enhance Qualcomm Technologies’ front-end solutions to enable us to deliver a truly complete solution to the mobile device ecosystem, and we have done exactly that,” said Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm. 

“We are excited about the strong adoption of Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems in virtually all of our 150+ 5G design wins. Our systems approach has created a benchmark for 5G RFFE performance. I am very pleased to formally welcome to Qualcomm the talented employees of the joint venture, who already have been an integral part of the Qualcomm Technologies RFFE team, and I look forward to celebrating even more innovation as we continue to invent breakthrough technologies on the path towards a 5G connected world. Additionally, I would like to thank our long-time partner TDK. We look forward to continued opportunities to collaborate and to bring leading products from both companies to the market in the years ahead.”

TDK's interest in the joint venture was valued at $1.15bn in August 2019. The total purchase price, including the initial investment, payments to TDK based on sales by the joint venture, and development obligations, will be approximately $3.1bn.

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