While a number of IC vendors have begun shipping chips supporting TD-LTE, including base band chips, radio frequency chips, application processors, SoC solutions and soft modems, shipments of base band chips account for a majority share of total TD-LTE chip shipments currently, according to Digitimes Research.
China Mobile, while planning to officially launch TD-LTE services in 2014, has required chipset suppliers offer TD-LTE chips supporting five modes (LTE/LTE FDD, TD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and GSM) and also 10 operational frequency bands.
Since the specifications are high, chipset suppliers which can meet the requirements are mostly international players, including Qualcomm, Marvell Technology and MediaTek. Most IC design houses in China, with the exception of HiSilicon Technologies, are unlikely to enter China Mobile's supply chain initially.
ASPs of TD-LTE chips are expected to remain stable initially because of high product standards and limited suppliers. However, local chipset suppliers in China are expected to gradually enhance their hardware specifications and to step into the segment with aggressive pricing later, forcing international brand vendors to focus on more sophisticated devices such as application processors and SoCs, said Digitimes Research.
This article is an excerpt from a Digitimes Research Special Report (TD-LTE market developments and forecast, 2014-2016). Visit our latest Special reports.