Qualcomm: €242 million EU fine for selling UMTS chips at too low a price

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As expected, the low-cost sale of UMTS chipsets between 2009 and 2011 will be Qualcomm’s downfall. Due to abuse of its dominant position in 3G baseband chipsets, Qualcomm has to pay €242 million. Qualcomm did not sell the chipsets to its largest customers at break-even, so the European Commission found that competitor Icera would be forced out of the market. This of course violates EU antitrust law.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “Baseband chipsets are important components of mobile devices because they allow them to connect to the Internet. Qualcomm sold these products to its main customers at below cost prices in order to eliminate a competitor. Qualcomm’s strategic approach prevented competition and innovation in this market and limited consumer choice in an industry where demand for and potential for innovative technologies is very high. As this behaviour is in breach of EU antitrust rules, we have today imposed a fine of €242 million on Qualcomm”.

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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