Broadcom chips are common in mobile and telecom gear, particularly smartphones, networking adapters and tablets where connectivity to 3G and wireless networks is a must. Now the company has its sights set on (WiMAX and LTE) by acquiring privately-held Beceem, a 4G networking chipmaker, for $316 million.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Beceem is an attractive target because of its technology, which handles both WiMAX and LTE (Long Term Evolution). And while the press release leans heavily toward the consumer angle — faster mobile broadband and the like — the smart grid likely plays a role in the proceedings. Why? Market forces, naturally.
As GigaOM’s Katie Fehrenbacher reported last week, utilities are scrambling to spend the billions in stimulus funds earmarked for modernizing the electrical grid. To lay the groundwork on their smart grid communications platforms — the most critical part, it could be argued — they’re settling on a technology that’s here now, namely WiMAX. That’s good for Broadcom, but its latest buy also gives it a firm footing in the LTE realm. Though still a ways from wide adoption, LTE has already piqued the interest of utilities thanks to features like traffic prioritization and its proficiency over both wired the wireless networks.
All told, it’s a nice bit of corporate future-proofing. Now lets see if the bet pays off in the smart energy biz.