Broadcom squares up to Qualcomm in LTE

Qualcomm is facing a fresh wave of competition in the LTE chip space, including from Broadcom, which has hinted that it expects to become a serious challenger in the market.

While Broadcom is an established market player in some connectivity spaces such as wi-fi and Bluetooth, LTE, having won out over WiMAX and now firmly on the production lines and in handsets, has become the communications standard to watch. At the moment, Qualcomm and Samsung are the top dogs in the field – but Broadcom believes there is scope for more competition.

In an interview, Bloomberg reports, Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor said Broadcom’s LTE ship will probably start generating revenue in 2014. LTE is not exactly in its infancy, but in terms of products it is just starting to be expected – so the estimate is roughly when the standard should become ubiqutous in high end handsets.

At the moment, Qualcomm is shipping the vast majority of LTE chips – at 86 percent over 2012. Samsung made nine percent for its own products. Other players, along with Broadcom, will roll into the segment next year, and that will also include competition from Nvidia, Renesas, and Intel.

Broadcom boasts that its own chip will offer support for voice-over LTE and will be smaller than what’s on the market today. But the existing, and future competition, will be evolving their product lines too. McGregor said, Bloomberg reports, that the company’s product is “advanced” and “very strong”.

According to data from Gartner posted late 2012, other than Qualcomm, Broadcom was the only top ten semiconductor vendor to post positive growth for the year – rising from 10th to the 9th position on the back of an 8.8 pecent spurt. While chip sales in consumer desktop devices are facing a slump, the good bet at the moment is in mobile, as Qualcomm has demonstrated so effectively.