NTT DoCoMo, the largest wireless carrier in Japan and one of the largest in the world, has announced that it intends to partner with Samsung and others to create a companies, or a venture to build semiconductor chips. From what the company has been saying officially, it wants a stake in building system on a chips (SoC) that would include a 4G LTE modem. Of course, that would take them on a collision course with Qualcomm, the current leader in this particular area.At the moment, the investment of $5M would be very modest in comparison with the size of DoCoMo, and in comparison with what it takes to build such a chip. I tend to think that DoCoMo is really buying “influence” rather than “investing” its money here. They may also use this to keep a pulse on what’s going on in the market, and make sure that they are prepared for any significant change.
Samsung is already a strong player the semiconductor market and one that has built a stronger relationship with DoCoMo over the past 18 months. Galaxy S2 smartphones were very visible in Tokyo last October, and this is certainly because for the longest time, DoCoMo did not have an iPhone offering.