South Korean handset-vendor Samsung has begun developing its own mobile chips based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) and mobile WiMAX technology in a bid to reduce its reliance on external chip suppliers, a senior executive has confirmed. In a recent interview with EE Times, Young Cho Chi, senior vice president of strategic planning at Samsung’s telecom division, said the strategy was aimed at lowering the cost of manufacturing its handsets by reducing the royalty payments it currently pays to chip suppliers such as Qualcomm, Broadcom and Infineon. According to the report, Samsung is already trialing its mobile WiMAX chipset with engineers, but ultimately sees its LTE chip as being more widely used. However, it is unclear if Samsung will use its own LTE baseband in its first wave of LTE-enabled handsets.
Samsung’s decision to develop its own chips is part of an ongoing strategy to raise cost competitiveness amongst its chipset suppliers. Previously reliant solely on Qualcomm, Samsung began sourcing chips from rival firms Broadcom and Infineon last year. The company’s investment in mobile chips also comes at a time when – according to local South Korean press this week – Samsung is planning to cut its 2009 investment in semiconductors by more than half from last year’s levels due to the economic downturn.