Fujitsu, NTT Docomo & NEC form new smartphone chip manufacturer

Japanese tech giants Fujitsu, NTT Docomo, and NEC have banded together to launch a super-company that will manufacture smartphone chips, in a joint effort to reduce their country’s dependence on foreign components.

The group, called Access Network Technology, will develop semiconductor products that control wireless communications and signals, while the production of the chips will be outsourced, they have said.

Fujitsu will own 52.8 per cent of the company, while NTT Docomo and NEC will hold 19.9 per cent and 17.8 per cent, respectively. Fujitsu Semiconductor, a subsidiary of its namesake, will control the remaining 9.5 per cent.

Access Network Technology is evidently preparing to take on Qualcomm, currently the world’s leading smartphone chip manufacturer and supplier of microchip components essential to the exploding smartphone and tablet markets.

By 2014, the new company hopes to have snagged seven per cent of the massive global smartphone chip market, Fujitsu has said. It will also move into researching high-speed LTE networks and next-gen network technology, in an effort to carve out a place for itself in the mobile chip industry.

Last year, Access Network Technology announced a partnership with Panasonic and South Korea’s Samsung - which replaced Nokia as the global leader in mobile handset shipments earlier in 2012 - to produce their own mobile chips. The deal was eventually abandoned this spring after being unable to reach mutually agreeable terms for the venture.

Qualcomm revealed in April that it had underestimated demand for its Snapdragon processors, and confirmed in July that it would be unable to produce the through-the-roof numbers expected by smartphone manufacturers.

"It's slowing down production rates for a lot of the current Android models and is leading to a number of companies having to delay or scale down production of next generation models,” Davies Murphy Group analyst Chris Green told the BBC at the time, suggesting that there is a gap in the market that Access Network Technology could very well fill.