After the market closed on Thursday, Broadcom's (NASDAQ:BRCM) earnings report took center stage -- or at least it shared the limelight with several other companies reporting. But the sideshow on the small stage outside was the site of the real action, where the firm released news about a licensing pact with Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE:VOD).

For those who missed the main attraction under the big top, Broadcom reported earnings of $34.3 million on $897.9 million in revenue for the quarter. The numbers weren't spectacular, but they could have been far worse since management had opted to not give any refined projections for the quarter. Business with a few major customers, such as Motorola (NYSE:MOT), had been rocky, too, limiting product sales visibility.

But while the earnings call went on before a small audience of analysts, all of the lights and cameras were scampering around the announcement that had taken place a few hours earlier. In that news item, Broadcom said it had granted Verizon "immunity" from the International Trade Commission ban on wireless products containing Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) advanced chipsets. Terms of the deal call for Verizon to pay Broadcom $6 per device to import any phone, PDA, or wireless modem that infringes on its patents. In return for the "get out of jail for $6" card, Verizon would drop its lobbying efforts to overturn the ITC ruling against Qualcomm.

In addition to helping Verizon get a leg up on fellow carriers Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and Alltel (NYSE:AT), who are still subject to the ban, the two companies formed a strategic alliance to collaborate on developing mobile-device chipsets and other communications products. Collaboration at this level bodes well for Broadcom; it gives the company increased opportunities to win new designs and break into new product markets with a major carrier. In fact, the deal bumped the stock up 5% yesterday on more than twice the average volume, while the main earnings attraction failed to incite similar enthusiasm in traders.

Other good news came from management's projection that the next quarter will see sequential growth -- with guidance of $915 million to $940 million in revenue. So while Broadcom's main show was pretty boring overall, the action on the smaller stages more than made up for it.

More Foolishness under the big top:

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Fool contributor Dave Mock never dreamed of leaving home and working under the big top -- there's just something not right about clowns. He owns shares of Motorola and Qualcomm. Dave is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Vodafone is an Inside Value recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy eats deep-fried Twinkies for breakfast.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.