Intel, Mitsubishi to make mobile phone chip sets

Intel and Mitsubishi Electric are joining forces to develop and market a chip set for next-generation mobile phones and wireless devices, the companies announced on Wednesday.

Work on the chip set has already begun in Japan, and Intel and Mitsubishi said in a statement that they plan to expand the joint development effort into other parts of the world.

The jointly developed chip set will be highly integrated to enable multimedia functionality in forthcoming third-generation handsets, which are expected to offer much higher data transmission rates and speedier Internet access than current wireless networks.

NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan's largest cellular service provider, is scheduled to launch the world's first commercial third-generation wireless network in a year's time.

For Intel, the world's largest semiconductor manufacturer, the tie-up with Mitsubishi is the latest in a series of recent moves aimed at allowing the chip giant to expand its reach in the wireless arena, one of the world's fastest growing markets for semiconductors. As part of that push, Intel in the past six months has opened Wireless Competency Centers in Sweden, Japan and China.

"Intel has a goal of becoming a key supplier of building blocks for the global wireless industry," said Dan Francisco, an Intel spokesman.

The deal with Mitsubishi is non-exclusive, meaning that Intel will have the rights to market and sell the chip set resulting from the co-operation to third-party handset makers, he added.

Mitsubishi, meanwhile, is one of the largest mobile phone handset makers in Japan. The company is expected to ship more than 25 million handsets during its fiscal 2000, which ends March 31, 2001, according to the statement.

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