Qualcomm First to Support HSPA+ Release 10, LTE Advanced with LTE Carrier Aggregation

Qualcomm today announced that its next generation Gobi modem chipsets, the MDM8225, MDM9225 and MDM9625 chipsets, will begin sampling in Q4 2012 and will be the first to support both HSPA+ Release 10 and the next-generation of the LTE mobile broadband standard, LTE Advanced.

The MDM9225 and MDM9625 chipsets are also the first to support LTE carrier aggregation and true LTE Category 4 with data rates of up to 150 Mbps.

Implemented in a 28nm manufacturing process, the chipsets are said to feature significant improvements in performance and power consumption from previous generations.

LTE carrier aggregation is an important technology that combines multiple radio channels within and across bands to increase user data rates, reduce latency and enable Category 4 capabilities for operators without 20 MHz of continuous spectrum. The MDM9225 and MDM9625 chipsets are the only mobile broadband chipsets currently supporting carrier aggregation that allow OEMs to build devices that can take full advantage of LTE Advanced networks.

The MDM9225 and MDM9625 chipsets are Qualcomm’s third generation of LTE modem chipsets. In addition to supporting both LTE Advanced (LTE Release 10) and HSPA+ Release 10 (including 84 Mbps dual carrier HSDPA), they are backward compatible with other standards.

“Our newest generation of Gobi modem chipsets will allow mobile device OEMs to design products that can operate on nearly any mobile broadband network worldwide,” said Cristiano Amon, senior vice president of product management, Qualcomm. “In addition to supporting the latest mobile broadband technologies, these chipsets improve over Qualcomm’s previous 7-mode 28nm LTE chipsets (MDM9x15) by offering a reduction in power consumption and overall board area, enabling OEMs to design smaller, sleeker devices with longer battery life.”

The MDM8225 chipset supports UMTS only devices, the MDM9225 chipset supports LTE and UMTS devices and the MDM9625 chipset supports LTE, UMTS and CDMA2000 devices. All three chipsets are expected to begin sampling in Q4 2012.

Samsung Offering Android 4.0 Upgrades for Galaxy S II Smartphones

Samsung has announced the availability of the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) software upgrade for the Galaxy S II smartphone.

The upgrade will begin in the European countries including Poland, Hungary, and Sweden, as well as Korea today and gradually roll out to other markets.

Android 4.0 ICS software upgrade for Galaxy Note, Galaxy SII LTE, Galaxy R, Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, 7.7, 8.9 and 10.1 will follow soon.

Samsung added that it will also offer Android 2.3 Gingerbread firmware upgrades for Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab 7″, Galaxy S Plus, Galaxy S SCL(Super Clear LCD), and Galaxy W from end of March. The firmware upgrades for Galaxy S, for example, include Face Unlock, Snapshot, Photo Editor and others.

“We expect that our customers will enjoy an enhanced experience with their Galaxy device through this upgrade. Samsung is committed to satisfying our customer needs”, said JK Shin, President of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.

The availability and scheduling of the software upgrade and specific models upgradable to Android 4.0 will vary by market and mobile networks’ requirements.

ST-Ericsson Expected to Announce Large Scale Redundancies Within Two Weeks

Ericsson’s loss making joint venture with STMicroelectronics, ST-Ericsson is reported to be planning a major revamp of its operations, which will be announced within the next couple of weeks.

The move is reported by the Reuters news agency as a prelude to being sold to another company in a move that could create a sizeable rival to Qualcomm in the mobile chipset market.

Potential buyers are seen as being AMD, Nvidia, Intel or Texas Instruments, although the close technology links between the joint-venture and STMicroelectronics could cause some IP transfer issues.

“It is the only answer to Qualcomm,” one of the sources told Reuters. “On the patent side, they are the one company that you go, ‘That makes sense.'”

Qualcomm holds around half the market for smartphone applications processors, and ST-Ericsson’s NovaThor chipsets are one of the few rivals to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform.

“It’s only a question of time — either STMicro will buy out Ericsson from the venture or it will be sold to a third party,” Sami Sarkamies, an analyst at Nordea added.

It is not expected that a sale would be carried out in the immediate future though, as the buyers will want to wait to see what the new CEO, Didier Lamouche does with the company to turn around its finances.

Pakistan’s PTCL Expands CDMA EVDO Rev A Coverage to 90% of the Population

Pakistan Telecommunication Company’s (PTCL) says that it has expanded its CDMA EVO broadband service to 90 percent of the country’s population. Service is now available in 180 cities and towns.

PTCL customers can now get EVDO Rev A download speeds of up to 3.1Mbps. PTCL has also recently expanded coverage of its Rev B network to 70 cities offering speeds of up to 9.3Mbps.

“PTCL is leading the mobile Internet revolution in Pakistan by continuing to expand and enhance our wireless broadband services to provide seamless coverage,” said PTCL Senior Executive Vice President, Naveed Saeed. “Our sleek and portable EVO products are technologically advanced and coupled with our widest EVO wireless broadband service, which gives customers the most unique mobile Internet experience in the country.”

Vietnam Mobile Phone Market Momentum Spurred on by Lunar New Year Spending and Smartphone Uptake

Although the Vietnam mobile phone market was unable to maintain its high growth rate as compared to the previous quarter, the market still performed well in 4Q11. Total mobile phone shipments in Vietnam enjoyed 13.6% growth quarter-on-quarter (QoQ). Smartphones continued to be popular as vendors launched a variety of low-cost smartphones coupled with promotional programs which helped shipments in Vietnam to grow 75% sequentially.

“As consumers began their seasonal spending for the Lunar New Year season, the mobile phone market continued to pick up pace,” says Võ Lê Tâm Thanh, Senior Market Analyst for Client Devices Research Group at IDC Vietnam.

“Feature phones accounted for the majority of shipments but smartphones grew significantly in 4Q11. With vendors in Vietnam continuing to push out more low-cost smartphones into the market this year, we expect smartphone shipments to maintain its upward trajectory with double-digit growth projected in 2012.”

Daniel Pang, ASEAN Research Manager for Client Devices Research Group at IDC adds, “Android smartphones grew 53% sequentially in Vietnam due to strong performances from Samsung and Sony Ericsson in 4Q11. Although the OS market is becoming increasingly competitive, we expect Android to sustain its top position over the five-year forecast period.”

On a full-year basis, the Vietnam mobile phone market enjoyed 21% growth year-on-year (YoY). Local vendors struggled to maintain their market share against stronger international brands in 2011. Most of them have launched low-cost and dual-SIM feature phones to compete in the market but the small price advantage was not sufficient to offset the larger gap in brand equity.

Top Three Mobile Phone Vendors in Vietnam in 4Q11

Nokia’s renewed focus on the low-end feature phone segment saw it capture market share at the expense of local vendors. Some of its older models such as the Nokia 1280 were also able to maintain their run rates in 4Q11.
Although under increasing pressure from Nokia, Samsung retained its lead in Vietnam’s smartphone market based on strong performances from its low-cost smartphone range.
Beeline’s “Billionaire Package” promotion garnered heavy attention from the Vietnamese public and allowed them to flood the market with low-cost handsets in 2011 Q4.


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