Shipments of second-generation LTE basebands, commonly called Cat4,
enabling mobile users to enjoy up to 150 Mbps bandwidth, barely exceeded
42 million in 2013. However, key chipset suppliers are stretching their
muscles for next-generation basebands that will enable speeds of up to
300 Mbps, namely Cat6 chips. New findings from ABI Research indicate
that cumulative shipments of Cat6 chips targeting smartphones are
expected to exceed 700 million by the end of 2019.
"Although a number of chipset suppliers have announced their Cat6
basebands, mobile operators are not yet launching commercial networks
that will allow users to enjoy mobile broadband speeds exceeding
150Mbps. An exception to this is SK Telecom which recently launched an
LTE-Advanced service, offering speeds up to 225 Mbps," commented Malik
Saadi, practice director at ABI Research.
Qualcomm is the market leader when it comes to supplying LTE chips for
mobile devices. The company maintained an unrivalled leadership across
several generations of LTE, but with the emergence of Cat6, some
specific competitors could challenge Qualcomm in this market space.
However, other mainstream chipset suppliers such as Spreadtrum and
MediaTek might enter the race for LTE speed quite late as these vendors
will focus more on entry level LTE devices rather than competing in the
very high-end segment of LTE market, where Cat6 chips will be deployed,"
Shipments of LTE Cat4 chips will be the most used category after 2016,
with a market share of 55% that year. Although the use of early
generations of LTE chips, notably Cat3, is decreasing, these cips will
remain used in cost-sensitive LTE smartphones over the next few years
but their market share is expected to be below 15% by 2019.
As operators start to launch the first flavours of LTE-Advanced through
the use of carrier aggregation, mobile devices will increasingly
accommodate high-bandwidth modems, notably Cat6, to take advantage of
the network capacity. Cat6 chips are expected to be deployed in almost
3.6 million mobile devices by the end of 2014.
Shipments of this category of chips will grow steadily within the next 5
years to exceed 347 million by 2019, which represents 24% from the total
LTE market. Chips enabling downlink speeds higher than 300Mbps will not
appear in commercial devices until 2017 and their volume share will
remain small in the foreseeable future.
These findings are part of ABI Research's Mobile
Device Semiconductors (https://www.abiresearch.com/market-research/service/mobile-device-semiconductors/)
and 5G Semiconductors (https://www.abiresearch.com/market-research/service/lte-and-5g-semiconductors/)
ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of
trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From
offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research's worldwide team
of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and
advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com,
or call +1-516-624-2500.
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