Navigating through a CDMA nightmare

In 2006, Qualcomm woke up to news that Reliance Communications had decided to shut down its CDMA business. Reliance pointed to the royalties being paid to Qualcomm as the main reason for the non-profitability of running a CDMA network. Without warning, Qualcomm found itself in the eye of a storm and The PRactice stepped in.

The objective of the communications campaign was to dispel misconceptions about Qualcomm’s business model and reassure key stakeholders of the strong growth of CDMA and WCDMA worldwide. The challenge was to address concerns surrounding royalties and handset pricing.

To stop the spread of erroneous information, The PRactice conceptualized a unified and coordinated communications strategy that was transparent, straightforward and aggressive. A webcast of Qualcomm’s business model was conducted within two days. One-on-one media interactions were held with important spokespeople. Even the CEO of Qualcomm addressed the media and cleared doubts regarding the business model and royalties.

Transcripts were sent to the publication after every interaction. This ensured there was no room for ambiguity or misquotes. In the following weeks, the message was reiterated over and over again in the media, clarifying Qualcomm’s views in the telecom space. The crisis slowly eased off and before you knew it, everything went back to normal at Qualcomm.