Qualcomm Value Stock - Dividend - Research Selection
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Description of the company
We incorporated in California in 1985 and reincorporated in Delaware in 1991. We are a global leader in the development and commercialization of foundational technologies and products used in mobile devices and other wireless products, including network equipment, broadband gateway equipment and consumer electronic devices. Our inventions helped power the growth in smartphones, which have connected billions of people. We are a pioneer in 3G (third generation) and 4G (fourth generation) wireless technologies, and are now a leader in 5G (fifth generation) wireless technologies to empower a new era of intelligent, connected devices. Our technologies and products are also used in industry segments beyond mobile, including automotive, IoT (Internet of Things), data center, networking, computing and machine learning, and allow millions of devices to connect with each other in new ways. We derive revenues principally from sales of integrated circuit products and licensing our intellectual property, including patents, software and other rights.
The foundational technologies we invent help power the modern mobile experience. We share these inventions broadly through our licensing program, ensuring wide ecosystem access to technologies at the core of mobile innovation, and through the sale of our wireless chipset platforms and other products, which accelerates consumer adoption of experiences empowered by these inventions. As a company, we collaborate across the ecosystem, including manufacturers, operators, developers, governments and industry standards organizations, to create a global environment that drives continued progress and growth.
We have a long history of driving innovation. We played a leading role in developing the inventions that serve as the foundation for 3G and 4G wireless technologies, which are expected to serve as the basis for 5G wireless technologies. This includes the CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) families of technologies, with the latter encompassing LTE (Long Term Evolution), which, along with TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access), are the primary digital technologies currently used to transmit a wireless device user’s voice or data over radio waves using a public cellular wireless network. We own significant intellectual property applicable to products that implement any version of CDMA and OFDMA, including patents, patent applications and trade secrets. Companies in the mobile communications industry generally recognize that any company seeking to develop, manufacture and/or sell subscriber units or infrastructure equipment that use CDMA-based and/or OFDMA-based technologies will require a license or other rights to use our patents.
We also develop and commercialize numerous other key technologies used in handsets and other wireless devices that contribute to end-user demand, and we own substantial intellectual property related to these technologies. Some of these inventions were contributed to and are being commercialized as industry standards, such as certain video and audio codec, wireless LAN (local area network), GPS (global positioning system) and positioning and Bluetooth. Other technologies widely used by wireless devices that we have developed are not related to any industry standards, such as operating systems, user interfaces, graphics and camera processing functionality, RF (radio frequency) and antenna design and application processor architectures. Our patents cover a wide range of technologies across the entire wireless system (including wireless devices and infrastructure equipment) and not just what is embodied in chipsets.
We are organized on the basis of products and services and have three reportable segments. We conduct business primarily through our QCT (Qualcomm CDMA Technologies) semiconductor business and our QTL (Qualcomm Technology Licensing) licensing business. QCT develops and supplies integrated circuits (also known as chips or chipsets) and system software based on CDMA, OFDMA and other technologies for use in mobile devices, wireless networks, devices used in the Internet of Things (IoT), broadband gateway equipment, consumer electronic devices and automotive telematics and infotainment systems. QTL grants licenses to use portions of our intellectual property portfolio, which includes certain patent rights essential to and/or useful in the manufacture and sale of certain wireless products. Our QSI (Qualcomm Strategic Initiatives) reportable segment makes strategic investments. We also have nonreportable segments, including our mobile health, data center, small cell and other wireless technology and service initiatives.
The mobile industry has experienced tremendous growth for more than 20 years, growing from less than 60 million global connections in 1994 (WCIS+, October 2017) to approximately 7.8 billion global connections as of September 30, 2017 (GSMA Intelligence, October 2017). As the largest technology platform in the world, mobile has changed the way we work, the way we live and the way we connect with each other. The scale and pace of innovation in mobile, especially around connectivity and computing capabilities, is also impacting industries beyond wireless. Our business model and inventions have been integral to the mobile evolution, providing foundational technologies for this continued innovation and growth.
Extending connectivity. 3G/4G multimode mobile broadband technology has been a key growth driver of mobile, providing users with fast, reliable, always-on connectivity. As of September 30, 2017, there were approximately 4.7 billion 3G/4G connections globally (CDMA-based, OFDMA-based and CDMA/OFDMA multimode) representing nearly 60% of total mobile connections (GSMA Intelligence, October 2017). By 2020, global 3G/4G connections are projected to reach 6.3 billion, with approximately 83% of these connections coming from emerging regions (GSMA Intelligence, October 2017).
3G/4G multimode mobile broadband has also emerged as an important platform for extending the reach and potential of the Internet. In 2010, the number of broadband connections using mobile technology surpassed those using fixed technologies (GSMA Intelligence, October 2017), making mobile networks the primary method of access to the Internet for many people around the world. This is further amplified in emerging regions, where, as of September 30, 2017, 3G/4G connections are approximately six times the number of fixed Internet connections (GSMA Intelligence and WBIS, October 2017). In China, 3G/4G LTE multimode services have experienced strong adoption since being launched in the fourth quarter of calendar 2013, with more than 939 million connections reported as of September 30, 2017 (GSMA Intelligence, October 2017). In India, mobile operators continue to expand their 4G multimode services, providing consumers with the benefits of advanced mobile broadband connectivity while creating new opportunities for device manufacturers and other members of the mobile ecosystem. 3G/4G mobile broadband may be the first and, in many cases, the only way that people in these regions access the Internet.
Looking ahead, Qualcomm and the wireless industry are actively developing and standardizing 5G technology, which is the next generation of wireless technology, expected to be commercially deployed starting in 2019. While the 5G New Radio (NR) standard is still being defined, it is expected to provide a unified connectivity network for all spectrum and service types based on OFDM technology. 5G is being designed to support faster data rates, lower network latency and wider bandwidths of spectrum. Incorporating many of the innovations developed for 4G, 5G is also expected to be scalable and adaptable across a variety of use cases, which include, among others: empowering new industries and services, such as autonomous vehicles and industrial applications, through ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency communication links; and connecting a significant number of “things” (also known as the Internet of Things or IoT, including the connected home, smart cities devices, wearables and voice and music devices), with connectivity designed to meet ultra-low power, complexity and cost requirements. 5G is also expected to enhance mobile broadband services, including ultra-high definition (4K) video streaming and augmented and virtual reality, with multi-gigabit speeds.
Most 5G devices are expected to include multimode support for 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi, enabling service continuity where 5G has yet to be deployed and simultaneous connectivity across 4G and Wi-Fi technologies, while also allowing mobile operators to utilize current network deployments. At the same time, 4G is expected to continue to evolve in parallel with the development of 5G and become fundamental to many of the key 5G technologies, such as support for unlicensed spectrum, gigabit LTE user data rates and LTE IoT to meet the needs of ultra-low power, complexity and cost applications. The first phase of 5G networks are expected to support mobile broadband services for the smartphone form factor both in lower spectrum bands below 6 GHz as well as higher bands above 6 GHz, including millimeter wave (mmWave).
We continue to work closely with mobile operators and infrastructure companies around the world on 5G demonstrations and trials in preparation for commercial network launches.
Growth in smartphones. Smartphone adoption continues to expand globally, fueled by fast 3G/4G LTE multimode connectivity advanced multimedia features and enhanced location awareness capabilities, among others. In 2016, approximately 1.5 billion smartphones shipped globally, representing a year-over-year increase of approximately 5%, with cumulative smartphone shipments between 2017 and 2021 projected to reach approximately 8.6 billion (Gartner, September 2017). Most of this growth is happening in emerging regions, where smartphones accounted for approximately 75% of handset shipments in 2016 and are expected to reach approximately 92% in 2021 (Gartner, September 2017). Growth in smartphones has not only been driven by the success of premium-tier devices, but also by the number of affordable handsets that are fueling shipments in emerging regions and the variety of flexible and affordable data plans being offered by mobile operators.