Big Boost for QUALCOMM

QUALCOMM, a San Diego manufacturer of digital communications equipment, has received a contract valued in excess of $20 million to supply a Wisconsin-based trucking firm with a two-way, satellite-based communications network for its 5,000 trucks.

To help fill the contract with Schneider National of Green Bay, one of the nation’s largest trucking companies, QUALCOMM will hire an additional 30 to 50 people in coming months, spokesman Tom Bernard said Tuesday. At Schneider’s request, the specific dollar value of the contract was not disclosed.

Schneider will outfit its entire fleet of trucks with the QUALCOMM system by the end of next year. Called OmniTRACS, the system is the only two-way, mobile communications system currently available based on satellite transmission of data, Bernard said. The system also enables fleet operators to precisely locate vehicles.

The OmniTRACS systems employ small Ku-band “pillbox” antennas measuring less than 12 inches wide and 4 inches high that can be mounted easily on the top of the truck cab, Bernard said. The Schneider contract is QUALCOMM’s first OmniTRACS sale.

QUALCOMM was founded in 1985 by Irwin Jacobs and Andrew Viterbi, two former computer science professors who in 1968 co-founded Linkabit of San Diego. Both men left Linkabit, a manufacturer of digital communications encoding equipment, in 1985 after having brought the company to $100 million in sales. Linkabit was acquired by M/A-Com in 1980.


For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, QUALCOMM sales will increase to between $12 million and $15 million, up from $6.5 million for the previous 12 months. Employees currently total 194, up from 38 two years ago, Bernard said.