April 12, 1999 in Social Responsibility News

Samsung Mass-produces Essential Chips for Wireless Handsets

SEOUL, Korea - April 12, 1999 -Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has completed development of a Mobile Station Modem or MSM (model: SCom 3000), Base Band Analog Processor or BBA (models: SBAPP2.X/SBAP3000), and general-use operating system software for handsets. Korean telecommunications companies are once again proving its leadership in code division multiple access (CDMA) by independently developing this core technology. More importantly, Samsung expects to begin mass-production later this month.

The MSM and BBA are non-memory devices for handsets comparable in importance to the central processing unit in a computer. These critical components have all been imported from Qualcomm in the US until now, costing Korean handset manufacturers at least US$1 billion. Moreover, these imports have been increasing with the expansion of the CDMA market.

Samsung Electronics invested around two years and some W27 billion to develop these chips. The company has filed for 25 domestic and foreign patents related to the hardware and methods for activating the "acoustic echo canceler" function for improving voice quality when using a hands-free kit.

The SCom3000 chip is used in conjunction with the real-time pSOS general-use operating system software to facilitate the addition of multimedia functions such as web browser and email. A specific signal-processing algorithm has been built in to improve call quality by eliminating acoustic noise. In addition, an 8K Enhanced Variable Rate Codec (EVRC) that is usable with CDMA handsets is also provided to offer clear communications.

From the mid-1990s, researchers from Korean companies as well as from worldwide telecommunications companies have had their best researchers working on the MSM chips. However, they will not complete commercialization of this complicated device until the end of this year or the first half of next year.

The BBA chip transfers data between the wireless RF components and the MSM. To date, konly Sony and Qualcomm have produced this high-value-added device. It is designed to operate on just 200 milliamperes, helping to increase call time and standby time. The BBA chip comes in four different package types to accommodate manufacture designs for smaller and lighter handsets.

At the same time it begins mass-production of the MSMs and BBAs, Samsung has completed development of its own frequency synthesizers and high-frequency (RFIC) chipsets. As a result, the company has completed localization of at least 90% of the parts and components used in wireless handsets, a feat that will greatly improve their international competitiveness. By 2003, the company expects to save some US$2 billion in import costs.

Samsung has laid the groundwork for local production, technical independence, expanded exports and early completion of chipsets compatible with IMT-2000, the next generation in mobile communications. This accomplishment will ensure Korea's future global competitiveness in the mobile communications industry and pave the way for major inroads into the new markets for communications semiconductors, part of the non-memory field. As a result, Samsung will be able to greatly increase sales and obtain some of the world's most sophisticated technology in this area.

With the development of the critical mobile handset chips and the company's advanced memory technology, Samsung Electronics plans to develop a System-On-Chip with a MSM chip that includes FLASH/SRAM memories and speech codec and MSM and BBA chips, next generation IMT-2000 chips, that makes possible 153.6Kbps data transmission and are also compatible with the IS-95C standard. These new products are scheduled for initial shipment in the second half of 1999.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., with 1998 sales revenue of 16.6 billion dollars (US), is a world leader in the electronics industry. The Korea-based firm has operations in more than 50 countries with 60,000 employees worldwide. The compfany consists of three main business units: Multimedia & Home Appliances, Semiconductors and Information & Telecommunications. For more information, please visit our website, http://samsungelectronics.com


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