September 10, 2001 – Geneva, Switzerland – STMicroelectronics has signed an agreement with Huawei Technologies for the joint development of a silicon chip for subscriber line interface cards in telephone networks.
Under the terms of the agreement, ST and Huawei engineers will jointly develop the chip; it will be manufactured by ST and used exclusively by Huawei in its telephone switching office equipment.
The new chip is designed to minimize the amount of power that is dissipated or wasted inside the key circuit that interfaces the telephone line to the switching circuits. By reducing this dissipation, it is possible to put the circuits for a greater number of lines onto one board, reducing the cost of each phone line installed, according to the companies. It will be used by Huawei to produce new central office equipment primarily targeting the Chinese market where Huawei is a leading supplier. At least 30 million new lines are installed each year in China, so volumes for the new chip could reach 20 million lines per year.
To produce the new chip, ST will use a proprietary third-generation bipolar-CMOS-DMOS (BCD) process, which allows complex processing functions and high-power circuits to be combined on one chip, further reducing cost and also enhancing reliability, ST said. Conventional solutions using an IC with external discrete components require more board area and are intrinsically less reliable. Samples of the new chip are expected to be available in the 3Q01 with volume production planned for 2002.