updated 03:50 pm EST, Thu November 13, 2008
Qualcomm Kills UMB
In tandem with its Snapdragon news, Qualcomm today said it was cancelling development on its Ultra-Mobile Broadband (UMB) technology as a path to 4G Internet access. The move is a reaction to news that Verizon, Bell, Telus and other predominantly CDMA carriers are instead switching to the rival Long Term Evolution (LTE) format that has already been labeled the choice for 4G on GSM networks.
The chipmaker is already involved with LTE and now says it should refocus most of its efforts on that standard. There should be little difficulty moving employees over to the new format and there is no risk of a "large layoff" at Qualcomm, according to CEO Paul Jacobs.
UMB is designed explicitly for CDMA networks, which exist primarily in North America, and so would have little if any support after the LTE switch. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have already planned to use LTE and will roll out their first 4G networks as early as 2010. Sprint is for now opting to use WiMAX and already has a small network in place.