Cell phones need modems. They're pretty important if your plans include making calls and accessing data. Like processors and GPUs, most phone manufacturers don't make their own wireless modems or radios, instead incorporating pre-existing designs into their phones. Sony might soon be able to roll its own wireless components: the Japanese electronics giant has announced that it has finalized plans to buy Altair Semiconductor, a designer of LTE modems based in Israel, for $212 million USD.

The acquisition will allow Sony to produce its own LTE hardware, and possibly sell it to competitors, as is already the case with Sony's widely-used camera modules. Altair promotes itself as an expert producer of LTE hardware for everything from mobile electronics to vehicles to "Internet of Things" products, up to LTE category 6 chips. Sony did not reveal explicit plans for its new acquisition in the press release, but it did say that the details are expected to be finalized sometime in February - a rapid close to a business deal in corporate terms.

According to the company's website, Altair was founded just over ten years ago by former Texas Instruments executives, at a time when the value of LTE as an advanced networking tool was just starting to become clear. Before now Altair Semiconductor has been privately held.