The Chips Are Up for LTE

The emergence of the iPhone and other Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones has shown the potential of mobile data services beyond that of simple text messaging and emails. Currently, some service providers are challenged in building out their 3G wireless infrastructure quickly enough to keep up with the demand generated by smartphone users -- hence the aggressive industry push to make 4G LTE networks a reality.

The incredible momentum behind LTE is having an impact on the entire telecom supply chain. Semiconductor companies are now scrambling to ensure that they have silicon ready to support LTE deployment. The current edition of the Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, "Components Makers Scramble to Develop LTE Strategies," examines the state of LTE semiconductor development and the approaches that companies are taking to capture their slice of the LTE market. The report analyzes companies that have publicly stated their intentions to pursue LTE design wins, the opportunities those suppliers see within this space, and the products they are marketing to LTE equipment manufacturers.

As Release 9 of the 3GPP standard has been frozen as of December 2009, 2010 will be an opportune time for semiconductor players to secure design wins for their LTE silicon. With the date for Release 10 to be determined, the requirements for "LTE-ready" silicon are set, and silicon companies can focus on securing their design wins as LTE deployment ramps.

This will also prove to be an interesting crossroads for those who invested time and resources into WiMax technology. Since the underlying technologies of WiMax and LTE are very similar, semiconductor companies with WiMax silicon also began LTE development. What remains to be seen is whether they will continue with WiMax development, or if they will switch focus completely to LTE.

The more interesting dynamic to watch will be the ongoing silicon development as semiconductor companies continue to optimize and integrate silicon, while maximizing performance and minimizing cost and power. These issues are paramount as the advent of multicore silicon provides many options for OEMs in development to maximize their opportunities, as LTE deployment has just begun.

— Aileen Arcilla, Contributing Analyst, Unstrung Insider

The report, "Components Makers Scramble to Develop LTE Strategies," is available as part of an annual subscription (6 issues per year) to Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.unstrung.com/insider.

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