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Sequans Maxes Up

Chipset startup Sequans Communications has been talking up its potential to compete in the nascent WiMax market, playing down the threat of competition from network titan Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC).

The French company is another addition to the growing number of WiMax chipset outfits targeting broadband wireless vendors with "single-chip" silicon. Sequans today announced a small round of funding that takes its total investment to €2 million (US$2.5 million). (See Sequans Gets WiMax Funding and Sequans Scores 1.5M.)

“We offer a very integrated MAC and PHY solution,” product marketing manager and co-founder Ambroise Popper tells Unstrung. “That’s a major differentiator for us.”

Popper claims the company is “talking with all the major WiMax system vendors, as well as names who are not involved in WiMax right now.” Sequans expects to launch its chipsets “in the second quarter of next year.”

Founded in September 2003 and supporting a headcount of 23, the company is a minnow compared to its more prestigious rivals (see Fujitsu Readies WiMax Chip and Intel's WiMax Drive).

Not that CEO Dr Georges Karam appears concerned by such competition: “I don’t believe Intel is going to be a major competitor. Although today it looks like a competitor, the focus for Intel is to sell laptops. They want to push their solution so that it is one day integrated into laptops. I don’t believe this is going to happen next year. It will take more than two years.

“The system vendors today work with Intel because they have no other solution. But they need chip vendors supporting them by delivering solutions for the base station and their standalone CPE. I believe that Intel and Sequans are not addressing the same market. We are complementing each other.”

Looking ahead, Karam expects to complete a second round of funding by the end of this year, targeting “around €7 million” ($8.6 million).

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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