(Recasts lead with earning beat; adds information from results, executive quotes)
Jan 30 (Reuters) - Qualcomm Inc reported quarterly earnings that handily beat Wall Street views on Wednesday and said it had negotiated a new and slightly better interim patent contract with Huawei Technologies as it forecast current-quarter revenues in line with analyst estimates.
Shares of Qualcomm, the world's biggest supplier of mobile phone chips, rose nearly 2 percent in after-hours trading.
The forecast allays investor concerns about a weak smart phone market in China and elsewhere and comes as a relief to investors after multiple other chipmakers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, Samsung and Intel Corp, delivered lower-than-expected sales forecasts this month, citing economic weakness in China.
Qualcomm, which generates most of its profits by licensing its technology to mobile phone makers and others, said that under the deal reached with Huawei, the Chinese company will pay $150 million per quarter for the next three quarters as the two work toward a final resolution of a licensing dispute.
Qualcomm was previously receiving $100 million per quarter from Huawei. Qualcomm's chief executive, Steve Mollenkopf, said the $150 million is still less than Qualcomm believes it is owed but that the new deal is "on slightly better terms, which is very good."
Qualcomm executives said the company still does not have a timeline for final resolution of the Huawei dispute, but the progress is a positive sign for the company's licensing business. Qualcomm said it expects the business to generate between $1 billion and $1.1 billion in revenue for the quarter ending in March, roughly in line with analyst expectations, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Legal worries around the company's licensing division have weighed heavily on Qualcomm over the past two years as it wages a costly and broad ranging dispute with iPhone maker Apple Inc and government regulators.
Qualcomm on Wednesday also said it had reduced operating expenses by $850 million, part of a plan announced last year to reduce them by $1 billion. The company's chief financial officer, George Davis, told Reuters that litigation costs were part of the reason why Qualcomm remains short of its goal.
Modem chip shipments fell 21.5 percent to 186 million, but were better than analysts estimate of 185.4 million, according to FactSet.
Qualcomm said it expects current-quarter revenue of between $4.4 billion and $5.2 billion, meeting analysts' estimate of $4.80 billion at the midpoint, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Net income attributable to Qualcomm was $1.07 billion, or 87 cents per share, for the first quarter ended Dec. 30, compared with a loss of $5.98 billion, or $4.05 per share, a year earlier when it took a $6 billion tax charge.
Excluding items, the company earned $1.20 per share, topping the analyst average estimate of $1.09.
Revenue fell 20 percent to $4.84 billion, slightly missing the analyst average estimate of $4.90 billion. (Reporting by Shariq Khan and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Arun Koyyur)