The Internet of Things has been big business in the last few years, and it’s only going to get bigger. Looking at CES last week, the show floor was full of drones, robots (which it always is), and all sorts of IoT devices including connected crock pots, connected toothbrushes and much more. Luckily Qualcomm has figured that one out already and is looking to capitalize on that market. The company has entered an agreement with TDK. Together the two companies will be building wireless modules that are able to communicate with devices like drones, automobiles and even IoT devices, wirelessly. The joint venture has been put under the name RF360 Holdings, and currently its valued at around $3 billion. The report states that the company will be 51% owned by Qualcomm Global Trading PTE. Ltd. and 49% owned by EPCOS AG, which is a subsidiary of TDK.
The two companies together, will be building RF filters and RF Front-end (RFFE) modules for communicating wirelessly to IoT devices. Additionally, filter and module design, manufacturing assets along with related patents will be acquired by RF360 Holdings. Along with some assets being sent over to Qualcomm’s affiliates. Also worth noting is that Qualcomm Global Trading will have the option to buy out the rest of the joint venture that is owned by TDK (the other 49%), 30 months after the date of the agreement closing, which they expect to close in early 2017. EPCOS also has the option to sell their stake, if they so wish.
This is going to be a pretty big deal for Qualcomm. Much like with smartphones and tablets where they make more than just processors, (modems, wireless charging modules and much more) it appears that will also be the case for other devices. Especially now that we are in the IoT market, for the foreseeable future. Qualcomm has made plenty of money from selling other components and collecting royalty fees, other than just from SoC’s. This agreement between TDK and Qualcomm should help drive the world of IoT and drones a bit further, especially since we are still in the beginning of that evolution.