Nokia, Sprint Nextel, and Qualcomm have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, February 28th. This press conference will be run by the CDG (CDMA Development Group), the consortium for the CDMA platform. The combination of Nokia and Qualcomm, alongside the nation’s only WiMAX and CDMA-committed carrier (Sprint Nextel) is certainly a sign of changes ahead. Nokia and Qualcomm are locked (as of last week) in a bitter patent dispute. Qualcomm is asserting patent rights to Nokia technology behind GSM, while Nokia is complaining of collusion over EV-DO.
Nokia licensed a Qualcomm 1xRTT chipset, after being promised by Qualcomm that EV-DO would be quickly replaced by EV-DV. Once the carriers and Qualcomm dissolved that plan, Nokia was left with a huge investment in 1xRTT that was rendered obsolete years early. Carriers were expected to skip EV-DO in most areas and deploy EV-DV in later years.
Between these two disputes, Nokia chose to exit the CDMA phone market, and focus on WiMAX, even becoming a Sprint WiMAX network partner. However, unlike other companies that abandoned CDMA (such as Sony Ericsson), Nokia hasn’t fired their CDMA staff. If Wednesday’s press conference marks the end of patent disputes between the two companies, it is very likely Nokia is planning to announce a return to CDMA handset distribution, with EV-DO chipsets.
The fact that this joint Nokia-Sprint-Qualcomm press conference is being carried under the CDMA Development Group banner, only points to positive news from the world’s largest phone manufacturer in regards to CDMA2000.