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© alexan24 dreamstime.com Business | May 02, 2013

Qualcomm dominates; Broadcom and Intel to be fierce competitors

Established mobile baseband processor chipset vendors will certainly remain key players as the shift towards LTE continues.
Qualcomm is dominating LTE chipset sales so far with over two-thirds of shipments in 2012. “We expect Broadcom and Intel to be significant challengers to Qualcomm over the next few years,” stated research director Philip Solis, “and some of the smaller LTE baseband 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 standalone LTE baseband 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 baseband products supporting TD-SCDMA to target China.

Different levels of integration and standalone 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 baseband 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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