Small cells

Intel Confirms Mindspeed Wireless Buyout

Intel confirmed Monday morning that it plans to buy Mindspeed's wireless assets for an undisclosed sum as it gets deeper into centralized mobile processing technology.

Light Reading reported early in November that Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) was the favorite to buy Mindspeed Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: MSPD)'s wireless unit, which includes the ex-Picochip small cell team. M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc. said last month that it is buying the rest of Mindspeed for $272 million. (See Intel Favorite to Buy Mindspeed's Small Cell Assets and MACOM to Buy Mindspeed for $272M.)

"The team and technology Intel is acquiring will make important contributions to how Intel Architecture-based solutions are transforming wireless access within mobile network infrastructure," writes Rose Schooler, VP and GM of Intel's Communications and Storage Infrastructure Group in a blog post Monday.

Schooler says that Intel is preparing for the further convergence of telecom and enterprise IT infrastructure with the deal. Intel-based server platforms today currently handle application processing, control processing, and packet processing. Now the aim is to enable basestation-style signal processing on Intel platforms.

"Our goal has always been to consolidate all four workloads to run on IA and we have already made significant steps towards enabling the last one -- signal processing on Intel-based servers -- through collaboration with China Mobile and SKT on designing Cloud Radio Access Network technologies," Schooler writes.

C-RAN can stand for both centralized RAN and cloud RAN. The C-RAN concept is based around the idea of a centralized baseband processing pool serving a large number of distributed radio access nodes. Unlike the typical self-contained small cell basestation model, the cloud RAN idea has a server "brain" handling the wireless ebbs and flows of a potentially huge number of radio nodes. (See C-RAN Blazes a Trail to True 4G.)

Under Schooler, Intel's Communications Group has begun to be more vocal about getting its silicon into basestations and other networking gear. The Mindspeed acquisition is the latest manifestation of this ambition. The wider company is also aiming to get its chips into more wireless devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, over the next few years. (See Intel Targets Networking Gear.)

Intel has a long history with Picochip, and has been considered as a potential buyer before. Intel Capital was one of the early investors in Picochip before Mindspeed snapped up the UK small cell firm for $51.8 million in 2012. (See picoChip Scores $20M, Ships 1M Chips and Mindspeed to Buy Picochip for $51.8M.)

The acquisition is expected to close in February 2014.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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