Broadcom to Acquire 4G Wireless Provider Beceem

The $316 million acquisition will give Broadcom access to Beceem's 4G wireless platform solutions.

Communications chip supplier Broadcom has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Beceem Communications, a provider of 4G wireless platform solutions, for an estimated $316 million.

The acquisition, expected to be complete by March 31, will give Broadcom access to Beceem's solutions for LTE (Long Term Evolution) and WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access), the two standards associated with 4G cellular services. Privately held Beceem has announced a 4G multimode platform for both LTE and WiMAX 4G networks that supports peak broadband download speeds of up to 200Mbps.
When combined with Broadcom's 3G/2G cellular solutions, wireless LAN, Bluetooth, GPS, Ethernet switching and other associated IP, Beceem's 4G technology would help their combined customers accelerate the market availability of highly integrated, lower-cost 4G wireless broadband devices.
"The combination of Beceem and Broadcom creates a leader in providing multimode wireless connectivity solutions to service providers and equipment manufacturers around the world," said Scott Bibaud, executive vice president and general manager of Broadcom's mobile platforms group, said in a statement. "Beceem's talented teams of engineers in India and the U.S. have been focused on enabling a 4G ecosystem of operators and equipment manufacturers to drive the deployment of 4G networks."
Beceem CEO Surendra Babu Mandava said when combined with Broadcom's 2G and 3G cellular solutions and broader wired and wireless communications portfolio, their company's 4G products would enable operators to roll out next-generation wireless broadband solutions while providing support for existing networks. "Our combined offering will be one of the most extensive and formidable in the industry," Mandava said in a statement.
According to the Global Semiconductor Alliance, 132 operators in 56 countries are investing in and are expected to deploy LTE, while WiMAX has already been deployed in more than 550 networks in 148 countries.

In September, Verizon unveiled plans to roll out its 4G LTE Network to 30 large U.S. cities by end of 2010 and deliver the high-speed service to the entire country by 2013. Verizon officials did not specify which cities would gain 4G service in 2010 other than to say they are major metropolitan areas. The company's cell sites are being upgraded to Gigabit Ethernet where possible so that they will have the backhaul capacity to support the bandwidth requirements of LTE, said Bernie McMonagle, a Verizon senior federal sales executive.