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November 08, 2012

By 2017, Around 80 Percent of Base Station Silicon will be SoC - Predicts ABI Research

ABI Research (News - Alert) is expecting the sales of base station processors to grow 17 percent annually to reach revenue worth $ 1.1 billion by year 2017. It predicts growth in compact format femto-, pico-, and microcell small cell base stations that will form the majority of the processor market in 2017.

Over the next five years, macrocells are expected to decline by 13 percent per year. The macro cells are expected to grow at modest seven percent. The majority of the next generation base station processors will be consumed by the fast growing picocells and femtocells. Growth of compact femtocell and picocell will eventually ensure that the penetration of system-on-chip basebands grow at about 108 percent annually. It will thus reach about 80 percent of the total market by year 2017.

Keeping in view the looming capacity shortfall, service providers are currently using distributed Radio Access Networks (RANs) to narrow the gap between capacity and demand. They are deploying Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets) with small cell underlays in dense urban areas. All these techniques are slowly but steadily driving integration into the next generation base station baseband.

Nick Marshall, principal analyst, mobile networks, said that these next generation baseband processors are heterogeneous multicore SoC devices including both DSP and CPU cores for control and data plane processing along with hardware acceleration and connectivity for backhaul and radio interfaces.

There have been plenty of mergers and acquisitions in this segment. Xilinx’s acquisition of Modesat, Broadcom’s acquisition of Provigent, Qualcomm’s (News - Alert) purchase of DesignArt, Mindspeed’s purchase of Picochip, Percello and NetLogic and Wavesat’s sale to Cavium, all indicate that baseband SoCs are all set to milk the revenue opportunities in the constantly evolving distributed RAN and HetNet segments. Current leaders, Texas Instruments and Freescale Semiconductor (News - Alert) will soon have competitors, as the vendors are positioning themselves for their share of pie in the SoC devices segment.

Marshall continued to add that with the latest SoCs available or becoming available over the next six to nine months in 28nm silicon technology, these will be some of the most advanced baseband ICs ever produced and raise the bar in terms of complexity.

These findings of ABI Research are a part of a new report entitled “Next Generation Base Station Semiconductors”. The report profiles the market and outlines the activities of other companies like, Intel, LSI, Mindspeed, Altera, Broadcom, Cavium, Coherent Logix, Octasic, Qualcomm, Freescale, Texas Instruments, Xilinx (News - Alert), Intel and Vitesse.

ABI Research independently provides quantitative forecasting and in-depth analysis of emerging technologies through 70+ research and advisory services. Its team of experts advises and consults thousands of decision makers from ABI Research offices located in North America, Asia and Europe.

Edited by Brooke Neuman


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