Telecom Lead India: Broadcom and Intel will pose significant challenges to Qualcomm in the mobile baseband processor chipset market over the next few years.
ABI Research says the chip major Qualcomm is dominating LTE chipset sales with over two-thirds of shipments in 2012.
Though established mobile baseband processor chipset vendors will remain key players as the shift towards LTE continues, some of the smaller LTE baseband vendors will grab a part of the LTE chipset market.
ABI Research predicted that the size of the LTE chipset market will grow to well over 850 million shipments in 2018 for handsets alone.
“We expect Broadcom and Intel to be significant challengers to Qualcomm over the next few years,” said research director Philip Solis.
4 vendors are focusing on various features, while another 4 are offering integrated platforms; and 4 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. 9 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 single-mode LTE opportunity for non-handset mobile devices and the wider Internet of Everything in the near term and even handsets in the long term, single-mode LTE baseband vendors have an opportunity.
Altair, GCT, Innofidei, Leadcore, and Sequans offer single-mode LTE chipsets.
ABI Research says larger vendors will offer single-mode LTE products, but only after the opportunity for those products becomes much more sizable.
According to a report by IHS in February 2013, the competitive landscape of the cellphone core integrated circuit (IC) business has completely transformed over the past five years, with Qualcomm and Samsung capitalizing on the rise of smartphones and 4G.
IHS analyst for consumer & communications Brad Shaffer said recently: “As smartphones and LTE have gained popularity, the corresponding influences from both forces have created paradigm shifts that transformed competition in the mobile handset core IC market.”
Meanwhile, Strategy Analytics in a November 2012 report said that Qualcomm, MediaTek, Intel, Broadcom and ST-Ericsson captured top-five revenue share rankings in the cellular baseband processor market in H1 2012.
The report says Qualcomm led the cellular baseband market with 51 percent revenue share in the first half of 2012 on the strength of its leading position in CDMA, W-CDMA and LTE basebands. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor momentum has significantly helped. Qualcomm’s LTE basebands have been adopted by almost all top-tier handset manufacturers.
MediaTek ranked number two with 12.8 percent revenue share in the cellular baseband market in 1H 2012 with the help of its strong 3G smartphone processor shipments. MediaTek made a significant progress in 3G basebands in H1 2012.
Intel grabbed the number three spot with 12.1 percent revenue share in the cellular baseband market in H1 2012 as the company’s strong 2G baseband shipments significantly helped during the quarter. Intel also did well in the 3G baseband market and ranked number two in the W-CDMA baseband market in H1 2012.
Strategy Analytics believes Intel’s upcoming first LTE baseband platform, XMM7060, has the potential to cut into Qualcomm’s LTE baseband lead in future.