When it comes to LTE, Qualcomm is the chipset maker of choice. Part of that is their cornering of the market; by being first, they command business. As our demand for faster data grows, so will the demand for LTE chipsets. Qualcomm’s offerings aren’t cheap, and contrast our desire for low-cost handsets. Stuck in a quagmire, what is an OEM to do?
It turns out Qualcomm may be getting some fierce competition from China as well as domestically. Broadcom is touted as one manufacturer that could emerge a strong rival to Qualcomm next year. As the LTE technology becomes a bit more approachable, we can expect many more to try their hand at building impressive and affordable hardware. Broadcom announced their LTE modem back in January, and is set to bring it to handsets next year. Strategy Analytics believes they're poised to make an impact, but warns they must get it right:
Strategy Analytics believes that Broadcom has the potential to emerge as a key LTE alternative to Qualcomm in 2014. Broadcom is still a minor player in the baseband market and cannot afford any missteps as the year 2014 is shaping up to be an important one for the company. Only a successful LTE execution in 2014 will secure the long-term outlook for Broadcom’s Mobile & Wireless business division.
Overseas, RDA Microelectronics and Spreadtrum could make a splash. Together, they’re ranked second in baseband units for Q3 2013. They have also been courted by state-owned Tsinghua Unigroup in buyout proposals, but have yet to yield. For the cost conscious OEM, either of their offerings could prove successful in bringing LTE to market.
Of course none of this is believed to disrupt Qualcomm’s place at the top, at least in 2014. They currently hold a 66% stake in the processor market, a giant lead over second-place MediaTek. Of course, Qualcomm leads the LTE pack, with MediaTek only recently bringing their octa-core offering to market. With increased manufacturers joining the LTE race, we expect to see a lot more handsets capable of quick data next year, especially in the mid-range sector.