South Korea Looks To Wrap Up Qualcomm Probe

Fair trade watchdog said Qualcomm likely to respond as early as next month to a report on alleged unfair business practices by the U.S. wireless technology company.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's fair trade watchdog said Wednesday it wants to soon wrap up an investigation into alleged unfair business practices by U.S. wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc.

Song Sang-min, an official handling the probe at the Korea Fair Trade Commission, said Qualcomm was likely to respond as early as next month to a report on the case sent to the San Diego, California-based company in February.

"We cannot disclose contents of the case as it is under investigation," Song said. He said the commission plans to conclude the case "quickly." The probe began in 2006.

Qualcomm developed CDMA, or code division multiple access, a rival standard to the dominant cellular standard GSM, or global system for mobile. The company controls most of the key patents.

CDMA is used in the United States and South Korea. Every handset in South Korea has a CDMA chip and handset manufacturers have to pay royalty fees to Qualcomm.

Qualcomm, which licenses technology for mobile phones and manufactures semiconductor chips that run them, earns money by licensing the CDMA technology to other chip makers, handset manufacturers and wireless technology companies.

Qualcomm said in a press release Tuesday that the commission had issued the report, which the company said set forth "allegations with respect to the lawfulness of certain business practices related to Qualcomm's integration of multimedia solutions into its chipsets, rebates and discounts provided to its chipset customers."

The company said the document, known as a case examiner's report, "does not indicate what specific remedies may be sought" against it.

"Qualcomm believes its actions have been lawful and over the next several months plans to submit its response to the allegations" the release said.

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