Qualcomm has been into expanding its payment portfolio through various technological and business initiatives:
v In December 2012, it upgraded its NFC technology to make it into an ultra-low power consumption product.
v In December 2013, Gimbal, the company’s beacon brand, was launched and later was positioned well into the market through Qualcomm’s Retail Solutions with retail companies like Suja adopting it.
v In 2008, the company tied up with Obopay to develop mobile payment solution for the BREW solution.
v Currently, in 2014, the company is in the phase of acquiring Firethorn, the m-banking enabler.
The NFC upgradation was accomplished by Qualcomm Atheros, a subsidiary under the Qualcomm Inc. This helped in reducing the costs for handset makers as the footprint of the NFC chip got reduced by half, enabled support for antennas eight times smaller in size and minimized the battery drain in batteries as well through special polling algorithms.
Gimbal beacon uses Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) enabled merchants to interact with customers through mobile apps, offering them contents and offers and aiding order placing and payments. Further developments for Gimbal include creating proxy based networks within buildings that communicate with smartphones in proper range.
The company offers BREW solution to leverage the growth of wireless data. The offerings include uiOne for rich and dynamic user experience with fast access to revenue services on devices; deliveryOne for differentiated and integrated operator managed support as well as delivery of advanced wireless data; and marketOne for quick-to-market scalable content delivery service that includes media titles, monetization and BI services.
The partnership with Firethorn is Qualcomm’s strategy to deliver compelling apps to drive consumer adoption of new mobile data services. This will also help the company drive the development and delivery of m-payments and m-marketing services.
Qualcomm operates through four segments: Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (QCT); Qualcomm Technology Licensing (QTL); Qualcomm Wireless & Internet (QWI), and Qualcomm Strategic Initiatives (QSI). Qualcomm reported revenue of USD24.9 billionfor fiscal year 2013, an increase of 30% over the prior year. It’s mainly because of global growth of wireless data, and company’s semiconductor solutions are used across the industry’s flagship smartphones.