An Israeli business newspaper is reporting that Qualcomm (QCOM) is set to acquire Israel’s DesignArt Networks for between $120 and $140 million. The deal would not be a large acquisition for Qualcomm, but it could give the San Diego chipmaker a boost in the emerging market for integrated small cell base station chips.
DesignArt’s single-chip LTE small cell base station is not a complete system-on-a-chip; in larger configurations it must be paired with a communications processor. According to Tom Halfhill of The Linley Group, “to compensate for needing an additional chipset in some designs, [DesignArt's] processor uniquely integrates digital front-end and wireless backhaul capabilities, reducing the cost of systems requiring these features.”
Qualcomm is a leading maker of cellular basebands for handsets, but is less of a player in the base station market. Integrated chipsets for LTE base stations are just beginning to hit the market, with the first deployments expected this year in South Korea.
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