US government pushes FTC to settle Qualcomm spat - Mobile World Live

US government pushes FTC to settle Qualcomm spat

07 MAR 2019

Officials from the US departments of defence and energy pressed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to settle a lawsuit against Qualcomm, citing concerns a judgement against the tech company could hinder its ability to compete with Chinese rivals, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

Sources told WSJ representatives from other branches of government contacted the FTC to express concerns that a handicap on Qualcomm could present a threat to national security as vendors and operators push to deploy 5G networks.

The FTC filed a complaint against Qualcomm in 2017, accusing the company of using its dominant market position to force customers, including Apple, to pay excessive patent licensing fees. Court hearings in the case were held in January, and the pair are now awaiting a ruling.

During a recent earnings call, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said the company was confident it presented a strong defence in court, but added it would be willing to accept a settlement deal to “remove this risk from the table.”

The discussions reflect fears among US officials that China could win the race to 5G and equipment from Chinese vendors could be used to infiltrate domestic networks. Vendors, including Huawei and ZTE, fiercely denied they pose a security threat.

Huawei was among a number of companies which testified for the FTC against Qualcomm at trial.

President Donald Trump cited similar national security concerns in his decision to kill Broadcom’s attempt to take over Qualcomm in 2018.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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