U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm plans to sell its wireless broadband business in India and predicted firm demand for chips, led by robust growth in smartphones and new devices, its chief executive said on Thursday.
“We bought this spectrum to make sure LTE (long term evolution) would get deployed in India. But we never expected to go into full operation of network,” Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs told Reuters on the sidelines of the G20 CEO Summit in Seoul.
“We don’t want to be competitors to our partners. So we do have a plan to sell this spectrum to one or more operators.”
Qualcomm had spent about $1 billion to buy wireless airwaves in Mumbai, New Delhi, Haryana and Kerala circles in an auction earlier this year.
Indian media have reported that the country’s top mobile operator Bharti Airtel, and smaller rival Aircel were in the race to buy Qualcomm’s broadband business, which it was looking to sell at a minimum of 50 billion rupees ($1.1 billion).
But Bharti Airtel CEO for India and South Asia said on Wednesday that the report of its interest in Qualcomm assets was “sheer speculation.”
Jacobs said overall chip demand remained strong, despite concerns that uncertain global economic outlook may hit corporate side.
“We still see tremendous growth for third-generation phones, smartphones and new devices–tablet. Data demand continues to grow.”
The San Diego-based firm reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings last week and said full-year results will beat Wall Street expectations due to strong demand for smartphone chips.
“Even…in the face of downturn, demand remained strong… the impact of financial crisis we saw was a… contraction in inventory in business to business. Not really much in the consumer demand side. There was a short term little bit of blip. But the most part, it’s been going up.”