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Broadcom, Intel to give Qualcomm a run for its money

Posted: 08 May 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE  base band processors  Intel  Qualcomm  Broadcom 

As the shift towards LTE continues, well-known mobile base band processor chipset vendors will continue to be the main movers and shakers of the market. Currently, Qualcomm is dominating LTE chipset sales with over two-thirds of shipments in 2012.

However, research director Philip Solis of ABI research stated, "We expect Broadcom and Intel to be significant challengers to Qualcomm over the next few years and some of the smaller LTE base band vendors will grab a part of the LTE chipset market that will grow to well over 850 million shipments in 2018 for handsets alone."

LTE vendors offering integrated platforms can allow OEMs to design products more easily and quickly. At the same time, however, companies that only offer stand-alone LTE base band processors can do fine if they are offering reference designs and related services. Beyond that, cutting edge features are important.

Vendors are focusing on various features; four are offering integrated platforms; and four are offering carrier aggregation now. 12 vendors offer 23 products supporting Category 3, and five offer ten products supporting Category 4. There are no Category 5 products on the market yet, which would have a more limited potential since they require 4X4 MIMO. Nine vendors have LTE base band products supporting TD-SCDMA to target China.

Different levels of integration and stand-alone components will be required for some time because of the timing of various technology shifts across the different components. Combined with the singlemode LTE opportunity for non-handset mobile devices and the wider Internet of Everything in the near term and even handsets in the long term, singlemode LTE base band vendors have an opportunity.

Only five companies—Altair, GCT, Innofidei, Leadcore, and Sequans—offer singlemode LTE chipsets at the moment. "Eventually, the larger vendors will offer singlemode LTE products, but only after the opportunity for those products becomes much more sizable," added Solis. "This is a rare opportunity for these smaller vendors to get market traction relatively unimpeded."

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