Microwave Journal

Qualcomm Acquires Remaining Interest in RF360 Joint Venture with TDK

September 16, 2019

Qualcomm announced today it has acquired the remaining 49 percent of the RF360 joint venture (JV) it began with TDK in 2017. The venture combined Qualcomm’s semiconductor technology with TDK’s acoustic filter capability, enabling Qualcomm to control a key component technology for the RF front-ends of mobile phones.

“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.” — Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Incorporated

Qualcomm said it can provide a complete end-to-end 5G NR solution from the modem to antenna for both the sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands, integrating filters and multiplexers with power amplifiers, low noise amplifiers, antenna tuning, switching and envelope tracking products.

The outstanding interest acquired by Qualcomm was valued at $1.15 billion, making the total purchase price $3.1 billion, including the initial investment, payments based on JV sales and “development obligations.”

Formation of the JV, RF360 Holdings Singapore PTE, Ltd., was announced by Qualcomm and TDK on January 13, 2016 and closed on February 3, 2017. The agreement allowed Qualcomm to acquire the segment owned by TDK within 30 months of the closing date of the JV, which would have been last month, i.e., August 2019.

The filter technology contributed by TDK to the JV comprises BAW, SAW, TC-SAW and thin film SAW, which are used to develop filters, duplexers, multiplexers, n-plexers and extractors and integrated with power amplifiers, low noise amplifiers and switches into front-end modules. This filter capability came largely through TDK’s acquisition of the German company, EPCOS AG, in 2008.