But what if the carrier produced the actual silicon?
Which is just what is going to start happening. NTT Docomo, who pushed hard for SIM unlocking in Japan - only to turn around and effectively bar unlocked handsets from their FOMA (3G) network, is getting into the semiconductor business. Perhaps I'm seeing this from an overly pessimistic point of view, but the last entity I want making my hardware is an old, entrenched company that is under unprecedented pressure to compete in a market that it formerly owned (essentially).
"Communications Platform Planning Corporation" [My translation of 通信プラットフォーム企画 株式会社, not NTT Docomo's] will be a joint venture between five domestic and foreign handset makers, with NTT Docomo being the sole investor to start (¥450 million). The company should be established by mid January 2012. The handset makers are expected to be onboard by the end of fiscal 2011 (March 2012), though exact amounts of their pending investments have not been disclosed.
The company's efforts will focus on efficiency, miniaturization, and LTE, with the resulting silicon incorporated into both domestic and internationally available devices.
Handset partners are:
- Fujitsu Semiconductor
- Panasonic Mobile Communications
- Samsung Electronics