Feature Article

April 29, 2013

Qualcomm Comes Out on Top in ABI Research LTE Baseband Competitive Assessment

With the expanding presence of LTE across the globe, it's no surprise that the market for chipsets with LTE baseband processors has increased accordingly. Of course, competition is fierce in this space with 15 companies offering over 35 chipsets that sport LTE, including single mode LTE chipsets and multimode chipsets integrated with application processors and wireless connectivity.

There has to be one company that leads the pack, though, and according to ABI Research's latest Competitive Assessment, Qualcomm is that company, ranking first in LTE baseband product features and other attributes.

Indeed, Qualcomm was highest in terms of market share for baseband solutions in handsets, followed by competitors ST-Ericsson and Sequans. This isn't too surprising as a recent IHS iSuppli report put Qualcomm as representing 31 percent of the entire cellphone chip market in terms of revenue during 2012, beating out Samsung's 21-percent share.

The fact that many of Samsung's popular devices, such as the Galaxy S III, feature Qualcomm LTE chips in North America is likely a major factor in the chipmaker's LTE success.

Still, Qualcomm was found to be successful in areas outside of market share, ranking first in innovation due to its fully integrated platform across application processor, baseband and wireless connectivity. In this area, Broadcom and ST-Ericsson tied for second.

Likewise, Qualcomm led in implementation, according to ABI, followed by Sequans in second, and Altair and GCT tied for third. Qualcomm's dominance in the market isn't expected to last, however, as competitors such as ST-Ericsson offer similar products in terms of features.

“It is curious that ST-Ericsson would be broken up just as it finally came out with highly competitive product features and was possibly the closest to competing against Qualcomm’s Snapdragon in the future across application processor, baseband processor, and wireless connectivity. In one year we expect these results to look very different given solutions coming to market, and this shift will be vital to gain traction in the exploding market for LTE devices,” said Philip Solis, research director at ABI.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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