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Israel’s Altair to supply chips to Japan

Tuesday, May 27, 2008; 9:36 AM

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel’s Altair Semiconductor, which develops chips for fourth generation (4G) mobile services, said on Tuesday it will supply the chipsets for wireless devices operating on Willcom Inc’s Personal Handyphone System in Japan.

The companies did not disclose financial details.

Willcom, which is controlled by Carlyle (CYL.UL), held 4 percent of Japan’s mobile market at the end of March.

Dwarfed in a market dominated by mobile phone carriers NTT DoCoMo Inc (9437.T) and KDDI Corp (9433.T), Willcom has been focusing on high-end pricey phones with PC-like capabilities.

Under terms of the agreement between the two companies, Altair said it will supply its ultra-low power and high performance chipsets to Willcom’s authorized mobile handset and handheld device manufacturers.

Willcom, one of only two licensees of 2.5GHz mobile broadband spectrum in Japan, will deploy its next generation network using technology aimed at achieving higher capacity and lower cost compared with 3G and 3.5G cellular technologies.

Altair co-founder Eran Eshed said the cellular industry will eventually migrate to next generation broadband technology, which includes the technology known as wireless WiMax.

In contrast to WiFi, which only works near a transmitter, WiMax provides Internet access over long ranges and can be used while the user is traveling by car or train.

“Wireless and broadband are the future of how people will connect to the Internet,” Eshed told Reuters in a recent interview.

Altair’s ultra-low power, high performance mobile chips take high-speed wireless Internet access beyond notebooks and USB adaptors to battery-operated handheld devices.

The company is privately held and has raised a total of $26 million in two rounds of financing.

(Reporting by Tova Cohen; editing by Sue Thomas)

Published on the, May 27, 2008