TD-LTE chip status: domestic manufacturers still have a long way to go

With the advancement of the TD-LTE industry, TD-LTE chips and terminals are rapidly maturing. At the 2013 Beijing Communication Exhibition held recently, many parties including operators, terminal manufacturers and industry alliances demonstrated the development results of TD-LTE chips and terminals. Although there is still a certain gap between today's TD-LTE industry and FDD and TDD, under the upcoming large-scale commercial conditions, under the strong promotion of the industry chain represented by operators, the TD-LTE chip and terminal industry will Usher in unprecedented great development.

The application and development of a new mobile communication technology are inseparable from the support of the terminal chip industry. Restricted by the development laws of mobile communications, the terminal chip industry is often the latest mature industry link. For example, in the 3G era, when China's TD-SCDMA industry developed early, the chip industry is the weakest link in the entire industry chain. This is because the development technology of terminal chips is complex and the cost of research and development is high. It is greatly affected by technical standards, technical indicators, spectrum planning, and regulatory policies. It will bring huge technical and market risks to related companies. In the 2G era, China's terminal chip industry is very weak. After the cultivation of TD-SCDMA industry development and the experience of 3G market competition, China's terminal chip industry has gradually developed and expanded. Horizontal terminal chip development enterprise, and has gained a place in market competition.

Faced with the development of the LTE industry, Chinese companies have invested heavily in the research and development of TD-LTE chips from the beginning of the development of TD-LTE technology. With the strong support and drive of China Mobile, they have continuously made technological breakthroughs, and some enterprises have started from single mode The TD-LTE chip started, and some companies started with multi-mode TD-LTE chips, which strongly supported the development of China's TD-LTE industry. At the China International Information and Communication Exhibition, which ended not long ago, the achievements of China's terminal chip industry were fully affirmed by the industry. With the gradual improvement of TD-LTE's influence and the continuous advancement of commercialization, the world's leading terminal chip development companies such as Qualcomm and Marvell also regard TD-LTE as an important part of their own LTE chip development, and rely on Has become the leading enterprise in the global market, making the LTE terminal chip industry the industry that has received the most support from chip companies in history. At present, more than 17 chip companies in the world have invested in the development of LTE terminal chips, which is much higher than the 2G and 3G era. The number indicates that the global terminal chip industry is highly optimistic about the future development prospects of the 4G market.

Despite the large number of participating companies, the development of LTE terminal chips is by far the most technically difficult terminal chip development project. LTE terminal chips entering commercial use will be multi-mode chips, and must support and be compatible with more mobile communication standards. This is a serious challenge for terminal chip development companies. In this regard, Chinese and foreign companies have their own advantages. Most of China's chip companies started with the research and development of TD-SCDMA chips, which have obvious advantages in the field of TD-LTE, but many companies have shortcomings in other standards. International leading companies need to make up for their deficiencies in the field of TD-SCDMA. Support for multiple frequencies is another difficulty in developing LTE chips. In the 4G era, there has been no good solution to the fragmentation of global frequency bands. People hope to solve this problem through the support of terminals for multiple frequency bands. This is another serious challenge facing terminal chip companies. At present, there are more than 40 different mobile communication frequency bands in the world. To support so many frequency bands at the same time, it is also necessary to effectively control the power consumption of the terminal. The technical difficulty can be imagined. In addition, terminal chips must keep up with the pace of semiconductor chip technology upgrades, continuously reduce terminal power consumption, and integrate more functions, all of which require chip development companies to have a stronger overall strength.

From the current industry situation, Qualcomm has launched LTE terminal chips and reference solutions that support all mobile communication standards and more than 40 frequency bands in the world, and is in a leading position in the world. Among the Chinese enterprises, HiSilicon has also launched five-mode LTE terminal chips. Spreadtrum, Lianxin, and Zhongxing Microelectronics ’multi-mode chips have also reached commercialization levels. It should be said that China ’s LTE chip industry is already based on TD-SCDMA A big step forward is an important force supporting the development of China's LTE industry. At the same time, we should also see that there is still a big gap between China's LTE chip industry and the world's leading level. The number of TD-LTE terminals that China has focused on is not large, and the chip technology level and maturity need to be further improved. If the technical level and maturity cannot be improved to a new level before the large-scale commercialization of China's 4G network, China's LTE chip industry may be eliminated by the market.

How to further promote the development of China's LTE chip industry is an important issue in front of China's industry authorities. Some experts suggested that China should further improve and optimize the relevant technical indicators of terminal chips to avoid delays in the R & D process of enterprises and waste of R & D investment. Some experts believe that considering the development and application status of China's TD-LTE industry and the technical strength of Chinese enterprises, too many, too high, one-step technical indicators are not conducive to the rapid launch of commercial products, but increase the domestic industrial chain. R & D pressure. Industry experts believe that at present, there are problems such as excessively high technical index settings in TD-LTE multi-mode multi-frequency and voice solutions, and chip and terminal companies are facing huge technical and market pressure. To this end, some experts suggest that China should achieve the TD-LTE multi-mode multi-frequency index in stages and at different levels. Experts believe that in the context of a small demand for international roaming data services, the domestic terminal chip industry chain should be encouraged to give priority to supporting the GSM / TD-SCDMA / TD-LTE three-mode system, and gradually promote the development of core chips of five-mode and above. In addition, experts also suggested that the TD-LTE voice solution should be steadily promoted, hoping that operators can achieve global unification of specific technical indicators and implementation steps, give the industry chain clear and clear planning indicators, and avoid causing resources to upstream companies in the industry chain waste.

In short, China's LTE chip industry already has a relatively strong technical foundation and industrial foundation. Although there is still a big gap with the world's leading level, there is still a long way to go, but under the conditions of the upcoming large-scale commercial conditions, the operators With the strong promotion of the industry chain represented, it is believed that the TD-LTE chip and terminal industry will usher in unprecedented great development.

LTE boosts cellular baseband chip market growth in the second quarter

Strategy AnalyTIcs Mobile Device Technology (HCT) service released the latest research report shows that the global cellular baseband chip market revenue in the second quarter of 2013 increased slightly by 5.4% compared with the same period last year, the market size reached 4.4 billion US dollars. Qualcomm, MediaTek, Intel, Spreadtrum and Broadcom occupy the top five market shares. Strategy AnalyTIcs estimates that Qualcomm's revenue share in the cellular baseband chip market reached a new high, reaching 63%, followed by MediaTek and Intel with 13% and 7% shares, respectively.

Senior analyst Sravan Kundojjala said: "The strong demand for Qualcomm's LTE and LTE-A baseband chips in the second quarter of 2013 drove it to obtain a 63% revenue share. LTE baseband chips accounted for more than 40% of Qualcomm's total shipments in the quarter , We expect Qualcomm to further increase the proportion of LTE baseband chips in its total shipments. "

Stuart Robinson, Director of Mobile Phone Component Technical Services at Strategy AnalyTIcs, said: "In the second quarter of 2013, due to the decline in demand for baseband chips for feature phones, the overall baseband chip shipments in the market dropped by 6.5%. Super feature phones. LTE and TD-SCDMA baseband chip shipments have achieved triple-digit growth, while GSM / GPRS / EDGE, UMTS, CDMA and iDEN baseband chip shipments have all declined compared to the same period last year. "

Christopher Taylor, Director of Service for RF and Wireless Components (RFWC) of Strategy AnalyTIcs, said: "The LTE baseband chip market is still eagerly looking forward to the emergence of another strong supplier. It has the potential to gain multi-mode LTE market share in 2014. However, as Qualcomm rapidly advances its highly integrated multi-mode LTE-A chip in the market, challenging Qualcomm's leadership is a difficult task in front of these manufacturers. "

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