CDMA Gives Qualcomm Earnings Boost

A jump in earnings for Qualcomm shows things are booming for at least one mobile technology-CDMA.

Earnings results for the fourth quarter from wireless industry giants such as Nokia Corp. and Motorola Inc. indicate that selling cell phones is still no picnic, but the latest financial report from Qualcomm Corp. shows that things are booming for at least one mobile technology—CDMA.

Nokia on Thursday reported that profits for the fourth quarter of 2002 were significantly better than for the same period last year, but the company warned that sales may slow down in the first quarter of 2003.

The Espoo, Finland, company posted a fourth-quarter income of 1.04 billion Euros, which was up from 450 million Euros during the same quarter last year, which the company chalked up to smarter operations spending.

"To adjust to tough times is the test of a company," said Nokia chairman and CEO Jorma Olilla. "That is the test of any team."

Net sales increased 1 percent to 8.8 billion euros, up from 8.7 billion for the same quarter last year.

For the entire year of 2002, net sales decreased 4 percent to about 30 billion Euros, down from 31 billion Euros in 2001. Sales of the companys popular mobile phones were fairly flat from year-to-year.

Company CEO Jorma Olilla warned that sales for the first quarter of 2003 wont be as good as the last quarter of 2002. Competitor Motorola Inc. made a similar prediction for itself earlier in the week.

Both Motorola and Nokia make phones for myriad wireless networks. CDMA (code division multiple access), the leading network in the United States and Korea, seems to be growing especially fast. This was especially apparent in the earnings results of Qualcomm Corp., which owns the majority of the market and the patents for CDMA components.

Qualcomm this week posted earnings of $241 million, or 30 cents per share for its fiscal first quarter, which ended December 29. This compares with $139.2 million, or 17 cents per share, for the same quarter a year earlier. The San Diego, Calif., company said it shipped 29 million chips in the last quarter and expects to sell 27 million chips in the current quarter. The majority of these will end up in 3G phones—the devices with high-speed data capabilities that support voice, data and often video. Both Motorola and Nokia said this week that they will unveil several multimedia devices throughout 2003.