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  Date: 04/11/2013

Update from Intel on its LTE chip business

In the year 2011, Intel has gained market share in baseband chip business by acquiring Infineon's modem chip business. Intel has quietly developed new LTE modem chip/ module products both for mobile handhelds as well as portable computers. Intel has announced its multimode, multiband 4G LTE modem chip XMM 7160 platform is used in the LTE version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1).

Intel is offering LTE modem modules with PCI Express interface for 4G connected tablets, Ultra books and 2 in 1 devices. Intel is also offering integrated radio frequency (RF) transceiver module called SMARTi m4G. The strategy behind such offerings is to supply semiconductors for both logic function as well as RF functions to enable personal computer and other non-phone computing devices with 4G capability.

"As LTE networks expand at a rapid pace, 4G connectivity will be an expected ingredient in devices from phones to tablets as well as laptops," said Hermann Eul, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile and Communications Group. "Intel is providing customers an array of options for fast, reliable LTE connectivity while delivering a competitive choice and design flexibility for the mobile ecosystem."

Intel XMM 7160 is checked for interoperability with major infrastructure vendors and tier-one operators across Asia, Europe and North America. Intel claims XMM 7160 is one of the world's smallest and lowest-power multimode, multiband LTE solutions for phones and tablets. XMM 7160 features seamless connectivity across 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks and supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously and is voice-over LTE (VoLTE) capable. The RF architecture of XMM 7160 is configurable and supports running of real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.

PCIe M.2 LTE modules supports peak downlink speeds of 100Mbps over LTE. The modules support up to 15 LTE frequency bands for global roaming. In addition, those modules also feature support for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) based on the Intel CG1960 GNSS solution. The M.2 module is currently undergoing interoperability testing with tier-one global service providers and they are expected to be available from vendor such as Huawei, Sierra Wireless and Telit. These modules are expected to ship globally in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook designs from leading manufacturers.

SMARTi m4G is developed in cooperation with Murata and integrates the Intel SMARTi 4G transceiver with most front-end components in one LTCC (low temperature co-fired ceramic) package. When paired with the Intel X-GOLD 716 baseband, manufacturers can meet the certification requirements of service providers with minimal design cycles in an easy-to-place, low-profile solution, says Intel. SMARTi m4G is designed to save 40 external components and and also to reduce the PCB area.

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