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SoCs make up 80% of next-gen base band processors

Posted: 12 Nov 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SoC  base band  processor 

Base band SoCs are forecast to grow at 108 per cent annually to reach almost 80 per cent of the total base station processors market in 2017, according to ABI Research.

ABI Research expects sales of base station processors to grow at 17 per cent annually and reach Rs.5,978.26 crore ($1.1 billion) in 2017 driven by the growth in compact format femto-, pico-, and microcell small cell basestations, which will account for the majority of the processor market in 2017.

With macrocells declining at 13 per cent per year over the next 5 years, and microcells growing at a modest 7 per cent the large growth in picocells and outdoor femtocells will consume the majority of next generation base station processors, noted ABI.

With a capacity shortfall looming, service providers are deploying Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets) with small cell underlays in dense urban areas and using distributed Radio Access Networks (RANs) to narrow the gap between capacity and demand, and all of these techniques are driving integration into the next generation base station base band.

"These next generation base band processors are heterogeneous multi-core SoC devices including both DSP and CPU cores for control and data plane processing along with hardware acceleration and connectivity for backhaul and radio interfaces," says Nick Marshall, principal analyst, mobile networks.

Merger and acquisition activity is high in this segment—Broadcom's acquisition of Provigent, Percello and NetLogic, Mindspeed's purchase of Picochip, Wavesat's sale to Cavium, Xilinx's acquisition of Modesat, and Qualcomm's purchase of DesignArt all indicate that there are significant revenue opportunities for base band SoCs in the evolving distributed RAN and HetNet segments and that vendors are positioning themselves to challenge current leaders Freescale Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.

"With the latest SoCs available or becoming available over the next 6-9 months in 28nm silicon technology these will be some of the most advanced base band ICs ever produced and raise the bar in terms of complexity," continues Marshall.

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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