Qualcomm Acquires Israeli Company with Small Cellular Technology

8/23/12Follow @bvbigelow

Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), the San Diego wireless chipmaker, says it has acquired DesignArt Networks, an Israeli company that specializes in modem and system design for small cell base stations and high-speed wireless backhaul equipment. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the English version of the Israeli business daily “Globes”  estimates the deal to be about $120 million to $140 million.

DesignArt, based in Ra’anana, develops system-on-chip and software technology that makes it easier for network operators to expand the data capacity of their networks.

As mobile data consumption has surged in recent years, Qualcomm executives have talked increasingly about the importance of improving network capacity and coverage by infilling gaps with small cell base stations and heterogeneous networks. So-called “HetNets” stitch together macrocell, small cell, and even WiFi network elements into a wireless mosaic designed to minimize dropped calls and maximize network capacity.

The deal will add DesignArt LTE and backhaul systems its existing technology portfolio, which includes products for small cell base stations and complementary Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and passive optical networking equipment.

The industry publication RCR Wireless describes Qualcomm as “a powerhouse in the cellular baseband market on the handset side of the business, but less of a player in the base station market.” So the DesignArt deal also helps fill a gap in the small cell side of Qualcomm’s line of network infrastructure products.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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