Home » Geopolitics » Marvell beaten by Chinese chipmakers in sub 1,000 yuan handset procurement tender of China Mobile

Marvell beaten by Chinese chipmakers in sub 1,000 yuan handset procurement tender of China Mobile

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Follow-up: First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21 – Sept 25, 2011]

No international vendors win China Mobile procurement bid for 6 million TD-SCDMA CMMB handsets, says report [Nov 15, 2010]:

China Mobile will procure 12 models of inexpensive TD-SCDMA CMMB handsets, with an equal procurement volume of 500,000 units for each model, the report indicated. The seven local suppliers are ZTE with three models, Huawei Device, Lenovo and Coolpad each with two models as well as K-Touch, Hisense and New Postcom each with one model.

Vendors, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Samsung Electronics, all failed in the competition because China Mobile asked for a unit procurement price of below 1,000 yuan (US$150) and they do not offer such inexpensive TD-SCDMA handset models, the report pointed out. Consequently, the seven China-based vendors eat the whole pie, with prices ranging from 350 yuan [US$52.7] to 650 [US$97.8] yuan.

Seven of the 12 models will use TD-SCDMA chips developed by China-based Leadcore Technology, a member of Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Group, and five models will be equipped with chips developed by China-based Spreadcom [Spreadtrum] Communications and T3G (originally China-based but has merged into ST-Ericsson).

Details on the model number, TD-SCDMA chipset vendor, and CMMB chip vendor for each handset are as follows (source Marbridge Daily):

China Mobile sub 1000 Yuan procurement results -- Nov-2010

Earlier reports about the tender announcement were:
China Mobile to procure 6 million TD-SCMA handsets, says Chinese media [Oct 8, 2010]: “Of the total, 3.6 million will be of entry-level models and 2.4 million mid-range products. … the latest procurement effort is largely due to the fourth phase of the China Mobile’s TD-SCMA network construction. When completed, demand for TD-SCMA end-use products is expected to increase substantially.”
China market: Inexpensive TD-SCDMA handsets to be available in 4Q10 [Oct 13, 2010]: “Pushed by China Mobile, TD-SCDMA handsets and smartphones at retail prices of about 500 yuan (US$75) and 1,000 yuan respectively will be available in the China market in the fourth quarter of 2010. … China Mobile is setting up its fourth-phase TD-SCDMA network of more than 100,000 base stations and expects the number of TD-SCDMA subscribers to increase from 13.42 million currently to 100 million in 2012.”

Please note the globally rock-bottom nature of 350 yuan [US$52.7] for entry-level models and of 650 [US$97.8] yuan mid-range products. No wonder that such a low-cost and high-performance system-on-a-chip (SoC) leader as Marvell Technology Group Ltd. had no chance to succeed through any of its handset manufacturing partners. Despite of its long stated aim to capitalize on huge volumes made possible by the sub 1,000 yuan TD-SCDMA handsets:

Marvell Empowers Mass Market TD-SCDMA OPhones with PXA920 Chipset [Sept 8, 2009]:

The Marvell PXA920 [which later has obtained the additional name Pantheon 920] comes with a dedicated high performance ARM instruction set compliant Sheeva™ processor and an integrated release 7 (TD-SCDMA, TD-HSDPA, TD-HSUPA) TD-SCDMA baseband [processor] as well as a China Mobile proven EDGE modem.

“China Mobile Research Institute believes that the OPhone platform operating on the Marvell PXA920 will catalyze the hyper-growth of TD-SCDMA smartphones as it provides a powerful combination of value-added services on a feature rich, high performance and highly affordable platform. We believe that the PXA920 solution will help us realize China Mobile’s vision of sub-1000 RMB [sub $146] TD OPhones in the near future,” said Bill Huang general manager of China Mobile Research Institute. “Marvell has worked with us from the start of the PXA920 program [2 years ago] and we are excited by the rapid progress we have made towards realizing this milestone. China Mobile will work closely with Marvell and handset eco-system partners to deploy the PXA920 and we look forward to the rapid launch of next generation TD-SCDMA OPhones based on the Marvell PXA920.”

“It is an especially proud moment for me to work with China Mobile on the mass market launch of TD-SCDMA OPhones in China,” said Shanghai-born, Weili Dai, Marvell co-founder and vice president and general manager of the company’s Consumer and Computing Business Group. “Marvell’s mission is to make technology more useful and more affordable to more of the world’s consumers. The PXA920 realizes a shared vision of China Mobile and Marvell to make powerful and affordable smartphones accessible to everyone. With the first single chip solution for TD-SCDMA, Marvell is raising the technology bar for the entire industry.

Marvell’s Vision and Long Term Commitment to China Positions Company for Next Phase of Growth [Sept 7, 2009]:

Marvell, with approximately $3 billion in revenues in fiscal year 2009, has nearly 700 employees in its Shanghai campus and is aggressively planning to expand its operations in China. The company has focused on building its presence in the China market for most of its 14 year history, initially developing strong relationships with enterprise customers like Huawei and ZTE.

Last week, Marvell celebrated the culmination of several years of investment in the China smartphone market with the introduction of the Marvell® PXA920, the first commercially available single-chip solution, enabling mass market availability of TD-SCDMA smartphones. Developed by Marvell’s research and development center in Shanghai, the PXA920 is a high performance, super integrated chipset that makes the new smartphones far more affordable than feature phones currently offered by China Mobile while providing enhanced performance versus current smartphones.

Update: That opportunity was realized only 2 years later. See:First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21, 2011]

Marvell Technology Group CEO Sehat Sutardja on Bloomberg [Sept, 2009]:

Our strategy is to focus:

  1. Focus on high-end smartphones
  2. Move smartphones to mainstream cell/feature-phone price range
  3. Work with China Mobile [world’s largest mobile company] for TD-SCDMA

Marvell Drives $99 Smartphones to Market With New Pantheon Platform [Feb 12, 2010]
Marvell Affirms Significant Progress in TD-SCDMA Mobile Phone Chipset at Mobile World Congress 2010 – Company Showcases Array of New Smartphones Developed for the China Market Powered by Marvell’s Low Cost, High Performance Processors [Feb 15, 2010]:

More than 90 percent of all OPhones (EDGE and TD-SCDMA) shipped since launch last September are built on Marvell’s power efficient, high performance silicon technology.

In addition to OPhones, Marvell recently announced new breakthrough developments in cellular silicon technology with the new Pantheon(TM) communication processors which enable development of sleeker, high performance smartphones with HD-quality, live instant video, voice, data and 3D graphics for gaming and other popular mobile applications for consumers.

“Marvell is proud to have been an early technology partner to China Mobile on the development of the OPhone smartphone and we are delighted to see the rapid and broad adoption of China’s TD-SCDMA standard,” said Ms. Weili Dai, Marvell’s Co-founder and Vice President and General Manager of Marvell Semiconductor’s Consumer and Computing Business Unit. “… The collaboration with China Mobile affirms our commitment to drive the smartphone for mass market adoption and to deliver the ‘always-on lifestyle’ to consumers around the world.”

China Mobile’s vision of the sub-1000 RMB (sub $150) TD-SCDMA OPhones will become a reality because of our collaboration with leading companies like Marvell,” said Bill Huang general manager of China Mobile Research Institute. “Marvell and China Mobile are excited by the rapid progress we have made in the TD-SCDMA technical cooperation.”

As the world’s first solution with a built-in TD-SCDMA platform solution with a 55nm design, the Pantheon 920 is a high performance, highly integrated solution that helps make smartphones far more affordable than feature phones while providing enhanced performance compared to current smartphones.

The Pantheon 920 processor [exactly the same as the PXA 920 announced in Sept 2009]supports all leading open operating system (OS) software platforms and come with a dedicated high performance ARM instruction set compliant Marvell CPU processor, high performance HD video, 3D graphics accelerators, and industry’s leading TD-SCDMA modem with 2.8Mbps HSDPA and 2.2Mbps HSUPA.

Certainly it could be the case that the next round of China Mobile tender for sub 2,000 yuan (sub $300) handset procurements will be won by Marvell.  The sub 1,000 yuan (sub $150) segment, however, has been lost for them.

Background on Chinese chipmakers now succeeding against Marvell and all other international operations

When looking into the background of local chipmakers, especially that of the biggest winner Leadcore technology, one thing becomes absolutely clear. The telecommunication chip supply is as much under state control as the whole telecommunication market. Moreover every strategy related decision, which of this procurement process is just one example, is under direct control of the Central Commitee of the Chinese Communist Party. As as consequence there is no wonder that no international chip maker has any chance to penetrate the mass handset market technologically viable for local chipmakers. It is quite probable that the Central Commitee wants to build an internationally competitive local chip industry via the huge volumes available on their home handset market. Some evidence:

–   Leadcore Unveiled oPhone Solutions to Strengthen the High-end TD-SCDMA Handset [April 23, 2009]

On April 23, 2009, in the Leadcore Technology Annual Client Conference 2009, Mr. Sun Yu, the president of Leadcore Tech revealed the progress of TD-SCDMA terminals development. Mr. Sun Yu said that more than 60 handsets are based on the Leadcore solutions in the current 100 TD-SCDMA handsets. More than 70% TD-SCDMA terminals products in the market were derived from the Leadcore’s DTivy. The Pecker test terminal launched by the Leadcore technology occupied the vast majority share of TD-SCDMA test terminal market. He also revealed that China Mobile was taking its great effort to R&D the solutions of OMS-based TD-SCDMA handset, oPhone, which will be released by Leadcore on April 23, 2009.

TD Forum Attended Leadcore Technology Client Conference to Witness the New Heights of Chip Manufacturers [April 22, 2010]

Continuous innovation to lead the future – the core technology wonderful debut thirteenth China Beijing International High-Tech Expo [May 27, 2010],  as translated from Chinese by Google:

展会期间联芯科技展位受到了中央领导以及参展观众的高度关注,取得良好反响。 Core Technology Alliance booth during the exhibition by the central leadership and the participating audience attention and achieved good response. 中共中央政治局委员、市委书记刘淇,中共中央政治局委员、国务委员刘延东,国务委员、公安部部长孟建柱,均来到联芯科技TD联盟展位驻足参观,了解公司最新技术与市场化成果。 CPC Central Committee, Liu Qi, Party Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, State Councilor Liu Yandong, State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu, are the core technology to the joint booth TD Union stopped to visit, understand the latest technology and market results.

General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPC, Chinese President and Chairman of Central Military Commission, Jintao Hu paid an inspection visit to Spreadtrum Communications (Shanghai) Co., Ltd [Jan 18, 2010]
Hu calls for independent innovation [Jan 18, 2010]:

Hu Jintao (R front), general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, shakes hands with young members of the research and development team as he inspects Spreadtrum Communications, Inc., in Shanghai, east China, on Jan. 16, 2010. Hu Jintao made an inspection tour in Shanghai on Jan. 14-17. [Xinhua]

… At the Spreadtrum Communication, Inc., a high-tech company founded by returned overseas students, Hu said independent innovation is the lifeline of a company. He told the company staff “I hope you could make further breakthroughs in core technologies, so as to boost China’s communication industry.”

Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. Announces $44 Million of New Financing [May 5, 2009]:

“We very much appreciate and are excited to receive this nearly interest-free financing.  This indicates the Chinese government’s strong support and high confidence in Spreadtrum to develop semiconductor products in 2nd and 3rd generation wireless communications in the Chinese market.  We plan to use our borrowings under the loan to increase R&D investment in our GSM and TD-SCDMA projects and to expand our IC operations in China.  With our strengthened financial position, we are more confident in our ability to overcome the difficulties caused by the current worldwide economic and financial crisis and do not expect to need to raise additional funds in the near future,” said Dr. Leo Li, president and chief executive officer of Spreadtrum Communications, Inc.

And these are just the visible indications that local chipmakers are getting huge government subsidies. And T3G, now a wholly owned subsidiary of ST Ericsson, has also been a very much preferred player because of its parent’s huge patent portfolio and international Ericsson influence in the strategic (for China’s local and foreign market efforts) LTE wins (see: IMT-Advanced (4G) for the next-generations of interactive mobile services, China is triumphant [Oct 24, 2010]). With that they can beat even the best international chip house, the Marvell Technology Group.

1. Leadcore Technology (part of the state-owned Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Group)

The current outcome is not the first time for the biggest winner Leadcore Tedchnology (with seven of the 12 models using its TD-SCDAM chip, i.e. 58% or 3.5M chips) as evidenced by one and a half years old news of Leadcore Technology Gets Big Order from China Mobile [May 21, 2009]:

Leadcore Technology Co., Ltd., together with its three partners, wins nearly a half of the CNY 600 million subsidy from China Mobile in the telecom carrier’s latest round of bidding for TD-SCDMA terminal procurement

Leadcore’s mobile phone chips are applied in five models of TD-SDMA mobile phones that are ordered by China Mobile this time.

The TD-SCDMA network operator has ordered 11 models of mobile phones, including the Leadcore chip-powered low-end TD-SCDMA devices launched by ZTE Corporation (SZSE: 000063 and SEHK: 0763) and LG, as well as the Leadcore chip-based flagship broadband TD-SCDMA products rolled out by LG, ZTE, and Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.

The other companies share the TD-SCDMA terminal order from China Mobile include T3G Technology Co., Ltd., Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPRD), Dopod Communication Corporation, Motorola, Samsung, Huawei Technologies, Hisense, and Guangzhou New Postcom Equipment.

Leadcore Technology’s lead on the technology market for TD-SCDMA terminals goes back to the very beginning as was reported by Datang Licensed TD Tech from Leadcore [Sept. 30, 2009]:

Sun Yuwang, president at Leadcore Technology, once said that more than 60 of the over 100 TD handsets that have gotten network access licenses in the country have been equipped with Leadcore chips, with an additional 14 new models afoot. Among the top four PC makers in the world, Lenovo, HP and Acer have all adopted Leadcore’s products.

Leadcore’s TD chip shipment outpaced 1 million pieces this past April, topping 2 million by the end of this August. Now the company is holding more than 60% of the domestic TD chip market.

Leadcore’s dominance has been further evidenced by TD Forum Attended Leadcore Technology Client Conference to Witness the New Heights of Chip Manufacturers [April 22, 2010]:

Dr. Jing Wang, Secretary-general of TD Forum attended the conference and witnessed great achievements gained by TD-SCDMA chip manufacturers since TD-SCDMA commercialization one year ago. With the further mature of TD-SCDMA market and gradually strengthened cooperation among related parts of TD-SCDMA industry, the problems occurred in the development of TD-SCDMA industry will be resolved effectively.

Leadcore is part of the state-owned Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Group which has the following structure:

with officially provided links as below:


Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Holdings Co.,Ltd.

Datang Telecom Technology Co.,Ltd.

GoHigh Data Networks Technology Co.,Ltd.

Unit in charge

State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council

Among the affiliate links given above there is no link for Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) although on the stucture image it is listed as part of the Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Holdings Co.,Ltd.

Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Holdings has agreed to acquire US$102 million worth of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) shares to bring its stake in the foundry chipmaker to 20%, according to a Chinese-language sina.com report.

The report said SMIC will use the new funds mainly to expand advanced process capacity at its 12-inch fabs.

Datang, directly owned by China’s central government, is currently the majority shareholder of SMIC with a 16.6% stake.

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) will pump at least US$2 billion into research and development annually in the future, aiming to develop “world-class” technologies and manufacturing within the next five years, according to Jiang Shang Zhou, chairman of the China-based foundry chipmaker.

SMIC is now undertaking a project to ramp up 45nm process capacity, which will cost it a total of about US$4 billion, Jiang noted. In addition, the company’s next move to a 32nm technology will initially require US$600 million, Jiang added.

Soon the Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Group will be even larger as per the news that China Potevio to merge with Datang [July 15, 2010]:

The government has decided to merge two State-owned telecom equipment makers – China Datang Corp and Potevio – by the end of this year, sources from Datang said on Wednesday.

The merged entity is expected to become the third-biggest telecom equipment maker in China after Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp, the source said.

Datang is a large power generation company and one of the key promoters of the TD-SCDMA standard in the nation.

China Potevio is a leading IT equipment manufacturer and service provider. Its main businesses span the manufacture of telecommunications products, the application of telecom products, and the informatization of broadcasting and TV.

The group is also playing an active role in high-tech investments as per Datang Telecom planning PE fund [May 20, 2010]:

Telecom equipment maker Datang Telecom on Wednesday said it plans to set up a 5 billion yuan ($732.18 million) private equity (PE) fund for investments in the booming Internet of Things (IOT) industry.

Datang will partner with the Wuxi New District Venture Investment Group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Wuxi Guolian Development (Group) Co to set up the PE fund with a corpus of 1 billion yuan in the first stage.

The company will invest 200 million yuan during the first stage of fundraising and hold a 40 percent equity stake in the fund management company being set up to manage the private equity fund.

IOT refers to networks of real-world objects linked to the Internet that interact through web services. The technology is based on the concept that all real-world objects can be identified and managed by computers if they are equipped with radio tags and linked to the Internet. Technologies such as radio frequency identification and sensors form the cornerstones of the network.

What is the current status of the group  and Leadcore itself in relationship to China’s own TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE technologies? The Datang Telecom Group was awarded “2nd China Annual 3G Prize” [June 30, 2010] press release is giving all the details (emphasis is mine):

Since Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of PR China issued 3G licenses in January 2009, in TD-SCDMA industry DTG has occupied 30% of market share in system equipment, and 50% in chips and Solutions.

Currently, DTG possesses the most comprehensive TD-SCDMA solutions for all circumstances in the industry, and is competent to provide complete, end to end TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE business solutions. DTG has already provided network equipment supply and construction services to Guangdong, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, and other key provinces. DTG actively cooperated with China Mobile to accomplish coverage of complex scenes, such as, intensive urban areas, large scaled stadiums, maglev trains and Cross-ocean Bridge, and provided premium green network with TD-SCDMA technology. All products provided by DTG are ready for smooth evolution towards TD-LTE.  This award collectively represents high recognition and acceptance towards Datang Telecom Group for its contribution in promoting the development of Chinese telecommunication industry.

LeadCore Technology, winner of “TD-SCDMA terminal chip and the best solution provider”, is the core enterprise specialized in TD-SCDMA terminal industry in DTG. As a chip enterprise in the upstream position of industrial chain, Leadcore Technology always focuses on layout of industrial chain and value chain; Leadcore adheres to technology innovation and market-orientation; promotes industrialization of innovation achievements,  persists in pursuing win-win situation from cooperation and also coordinates with the partners from industrial chain, so as to promote rapid and healthy development of TD-SCDMA industry.

2. Spreadtrum Communications, Inc (founded by Chinese expatriates in 2001, a public company since 2007 with principal executive offices and most operations in China but incorporated in Cayman Islands)

Spreadtrum and Hisense Jointly Launched the World’s First Affordable TD-SCDMA Phone Supporting CMMB Digital TV [Jan 10, 2010]

Hisense N51 was jointly developed by Spreadtrum and Hisense in a highly collaborative technical partnership. Executive Vice President of Hisense Communication, Ms. Wenlin Yang, said: “Hisense and Spreadtrum share a long history of co-operation. Partnering with Spreadtrum, we successfully won the bid of ‘thousand-yuan 3G mobile phones’ project of China Mobile’s ‘TD-SCDMA Terminal Special Incentive Fund Project.’ Through our six-month joint efforts and Spreadtrum’s very competitive TD-SCDMA and CMMB solutions, the Hisense N51 was introduced. … “

President and CEO of Spreadtrum Communications, Inc., Dr. Leo Li, said: “… Spreadtrum provides highly integrated TD-SCDMA/HSDPA/GSM/GPRS/EDGE baseband chip SC8800H and RF chip QS3200, which effectively reduce the cost of development and manufacturing of Hisense Communication products. Therefore, Hisense Communication is able to introduce cost-effective handsets such as N51 by targeting the Chinese 3G market quickly to meet the needs of consumers. Spreadtrum CMMB mobile TV chip SC6600V provides Hisense N51 with vast application space. Particularly, Hisense N51 is currently the world’s only 1000 RMB level TD-SCDMA phone that supports CMMB.”

Spreadtrum’s TD-SCDMA Chip Adopted in the World’s First 3G OPhone Lenovo O1 [Dec 14, 2009]:

Lenovo Mobile Communication Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Lenovo Mobile”) launched the world’s first TD-SCDMA standard-based OPhone smart phonesLenovo O1, with immediate sales in all local markets in mainland China. The phone is based on Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “Spreadtrum”, Nasdaq: SPRD) TD-SCDMA solution, and supports China Mobile OPhone OS smart phone operating system.

Spreadtrum and Lenovo Mobile, in a highly collaborative technical partnership, jointly developed Lenovo O1.  This new handset runs on the China Mobile led developed Intelligent Terminal software platform – the OPhone platform.  Lenovo 01 uses Spreadtrum’s TD-SCDMA/HSDPA / GSM / GPRS / EDGE baseband chip SC8800S and radio frequency (“RF”) chip QS3200.

Spreadtrum and China Telecommunications Technology Labs Announce Strategic Partnership to Promote New Technologies and Services [May 15, 2009]

A unique industry chain capability has developed in China’s mobile phone industry, which now comprises of design, R&D, support, production, marketing, etc. This development will enhance the competitiveness of phones made in China for the local and overseas markets. With the strategic partnership of CTTL and Spreadtrum, our cooperation will create new technologies and services in wireless communications and multimedia terminals. For example, we expect to innovative services by utilizing our combined resources and new techniques in 2G and 3G networks to develop high-tech information security technologies for the mobile and multimedia markets. Our cooperation will simultaneously broaden and strengthen interactions in the industry chain.

… China Telecommunications Technology Labs (“CTTL”), founded in 1981, was named under the authorization of the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and the State General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). Currently, CTTL is administrated by the China Academy of Telecommunications Research (CATR) and was formed through re-organization and merges of four divisions of CATR, i.e. the Research Institute of Telecommunications Transmission (RITT), the Telecommunications Metrology Center (TMC), the Research Institute for Industry Standard of Posts and Telecommunications (PTISR), the CTTL Anti-seismic Research Institute of Telecommunications Equipment, BaoDing (ARITE). It is a leading high-tech laboratory with the following missions: telecommunications technology development, telecommunications product standards and test methods research, telecommunications metrology standards and methods research, products inspection, verification and technical assessment and testing instruments metrology and evaluation of communications software.

Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. Announces $44 Million of New Financing [May 5, 2009]:

“We very much appreciate and are excited to receive this nearly interest-free financing.  This indicates the Chinese government’s strong support and high confidence in Spreadtrum to develop semiconductor products in 2nd and 3rd generation wireless communications in the Chinese market.  We plan to use our borrowings under the loan to increase R&D investment in our GSM and TD-SCDMA projects and to expand our IC operations in China.  With our strengthened financial position, we are more confident in our ability to overcome the difficulties caused by the current worldwide economic and financial crisis and do not expect to need to raise additional funds in the near future,” said Dr. Leo Li, president and chief executive officer of Spreadtrum Communications, Inc.

Spreadtrum: TD-based Chip Shipment Totaled 100,000 [March 6, 2009]:

Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. clarified on March 3, 2009 that the shipment of its TD-SCDMA-based chips totaled nearly 100,000.

Earlier, the shipment of Spreadtrum’s TD-SCDMA-based chips was reported to reach 10,000 or so. The number is inaccurate, explained the Nasdaq-listed company, adding that mobile phones adopting its chips accounted for nearly one third of China’s procurement of 300,000 TD-SCDMA cellphones and terminals.

The Shanghai-based company incurred a net loss of USD 31.3 million for the third quarter of 2008, in contrast to a net profits of USD 6.1 million Q3 2007 and USD 2.6 million in Q2 2008

Spreadtrum Announces World’s First TD-SCDMA/HSDPA/EDGE/GPRS/GSM Single-chip RF Transceiver – The QS3200 RF transceiver features high integration and low power consumption and provides 2G/2.5G/3G/3.5G multimode support [Feb 16, 2009]:

Followed by the GSM/GPRS single-chip RF transceiver, the QS500, and the GSM/GPRS/EDGE single-chip RF transceiver, the QS1000, today Spreadtrum announced the QS3200, the world’s first single-chip RF transceiver to support multimode such as 2G/3G/3.5G. The QS3200 offers great improvement over the other TD-SCDMA RF chip on signal transmission, reception, and power amplification in addition to the integrated features and low power consumption in Spreadtrum’s other chip solutions.  The launch of the QS3200 makes Spreadtrum one of the total solution providers in the wireless communications market and takes a positive step forward in commercializing TD-SCDMA technology.

Spreadtrum Announces SC6600V: First Single-Chip Demodulator/Decoder for CMMB-Based Mobile TV [May 7, 2008]

Spreadtrum’s new SC6600V solution is an integrated CMMB demodulator and source decoder chip and is the first single chip solution that supports both AVS and H.264 video decoding standards.  As the first CMMB single chip solution for mobile TV, the SC6600V is designed for feature phones.  The SC6600V adopts an integrated platform design for communications and mobile multimedia to reduce the design period of Spreadtrum’s customers.  … Spreadtrum’s SC6600V single-chip solution is designed to enable handset makers and carriers to offer mobile TV feature in feature phones at reasonable prices, instead of being relegated to expensive SmartPhones as most mobile TV solutions are currently.

CMMB is a homegrown mobile TV standard that applies to mobile devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and Portable Media Players (PMPs).  It features free mobility, rich video and data services.  In addition, it provides consumers with cost-effective mobile TV service that satisfies most consumers’ needs and is expected to be used in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Mr. Ma Jv, President, Academy of Broadcasting Science of the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, indicated that, “We are very glad that Spreadtrum has developed the SC6600V, the first CMMB-based Mobile TV single chip solution for mobile phones, which integrated demultiplex, channel decoder and source decoder.  We believe that it will help CMMB start to grow its market quickly, and we hope Spreadtrum will continue to unleash its technology strengths, allowing it to contribute to the CMMB industry’s ongoing development and road to becoming prosperous.”

Spreadtrum Communications Completes Acquisition of Quorum Systems [Jan 16, 2008]:

With the acquisition of Quorum, Spreadtrum gains a highly skilled RF engineering team of 30 engineers with an average of 10 years of industry experience. The combination of Spreadtrum’s leading single-chip baseband solutions with Quorum’s complementary, low-power high-performance RF designs is expected to strengthen Spreadtrum’s competitive position in the wireless market, including in 2G, 3G, RF, baseband, physical layer software, protocol and applications. Since its founding in 2003, Quorum has created multi-band transceiver designs ranging from GSM/GPRS/EDGE to WCDMA and 3G HSDPA application, plus a recently announced TD-SCDMA platform.

3. T3G (an ST Ericssson subsidiary since December 2008)

Key Milestones:

T3G has achieved an impressive record of world firsts in bringing innovation to China:

  • The world’s first ASIC based TD-SCDMA system level call achieved in 2004
  • The world’s first international TD-SCDMA call in 2004
  • The world’s first 384Kbps commercial TD-SCDMA/EDGE dual-mode Samsung phone, powered by T3G’s chipset in 2005
  • The world’s first ASIC based 2.8Mbps TD-HSDPA system call achieved in 2007
  • The world’s first 2.8 million TD-HSDPA/EDGE dual-mode dual-band commercial data card powered by T3G’s chipset in 2008
  • Completed the world’s first TD-LTE end-to-end application demonstration on multimode soft modem platform in 2009
  • Launched the world’s first TD-HSPA chip in 65nm in 2009

Strong presence and identity in China:

ST-Ericsson, through its subsidiary T3G, has been actively developing platforms for the TD mobile standard since 2003. The company’s extensive investment in technology and product development has given it a leadership position in the market. The company provides solutions to Chinese and global handset manufactures and design houses. It offers mobile chipsets, software protocols, system reference designs and customized technical support. In May 2009, ST-Ericsson was selected by China Mobile as a major technology partner for the development of its highend and low-cost handsets. The company will also support four of its customers to commercialize their mobile phones during 2009-2010.

  • ST-Ericsson’s 550 employees are based in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong
  • ST-Ericsson (ST-NXP Wireless) acquired T3G in December 2008. T3G was established in January 2003 as a joint venture. Its founding partners were Philips Semiconductors (later NXP Semiconductors, and finally ST-NXP Wireless), Datang Mobile, Samsung Electronics, and since 2005 also Motorola. T3G is based in Beijing.

Datang set to sell off T3G stake [June 19, 2008]:

Datang Mobile, the second largest stakeholder of T3G, is putting its 32.11 percent stake on sale for 122.2 million yuan, according to a notice posted on the website of Beijing Equity Exchange.

The move comes on the heels of the collapse of Commit Inc, another major TD-SCDMA chipmaker, which has dimmed the prospects of TD-SCDMA.

There are rumors that Geneva-based semiconductor maker STMicroelectronics might take over Datang Mobile’s stake in T3G.

Commit has had its own share of woes, forcing it to shut shop at the end of April after failing to secure fresh funding and pay its employees for months. Commit’s shareholders include Hyper Market, Texas Instruments, Nokia, LG and State-owned Potevio and Datang Telecom, parent of Datang Mobile.

Industry observers blame Commit and T3G’s woes on the slow roll-out of TD-SCDMA in China.

ST-Ericsson and China Mobile to Bring TD-SCDMA to the Mass Market [May 26, 2009]:

China Mobile has selected ST-Ericsson’s company in China, T3G, as a major technology partner for the development of its high-end and low-cost handsets, based on the 3G standard TD-SCDMA. ST-Ericsson will also support four of its customers to commercialize their mobile phones during 2009-2010.

Under the agreement, ST-Ericsson, the 50/50 joint venture between Ericsson and STMicroelectronics, will develop a new low-cost platform to support its customers to offer affordable TD-SCDMA devices to the China consumers. ST-Ericsson will also support customers to develop high-end mobile phones, based on existing and new platforms such as the T7210, which will allow consumers to enjoy high-speed broadband and multimedia services.

“Although ST-Ericsson is a recent joint venture, our subsidiary T3G has been actively developing platforms for the mobile standard for more than six years, achieving an impressive record of world firsts in bringing innovation to China,” said Alain Dutheil, President and CEO of ST-Ericsson. “Our dedicated local R&D team, as well as our strong commitment to continuous innovation and close cooperation with customers, will enable China Mobile to offer a broad range of handsets for the mass market as well as for the high-end segment.”

ST-Ericsson’s T7210 mobile platform supports TD-SCDMA dual-band in 2010-2025MHz/1880-1920MHz frequencies, and has successfully completed handovers of voice and high-speed data services in order to operate optimally in Chinese dual-band network environments.

ST-Ericsson Continues to Drive Innovation in TD Market [Sept 14, 2009]:

ST-Ericsson, a world leader in wireless platforms and semiconductors, and its Chinese subsidiary T3G today announced the industry’s first TD-HSPA modem chip samples in 65nm. This new chip is smaller than existing products, making it easier to implement in mobile devices, and is also designed to reach significantly lower power consumption.

ST-Ericsson reaches key milestones in China [Nov 27, 2009]:

Confirms clear market leadership in the TD-technology

  • Five million TD chipsets shipped
  • ST-Ericsson’s solutions power more than 100 models of TD devices, including handsets, data cards and embedded devices

ST-Ericsson, a world leader in wireless platforms and semiconductors, has reached two important milestones, confirming its market leadership in the Chinese homegrown 3G standard, TD-SCDMA. ST-Ericsson, through its Chinese subsidiary T3G, has been leading the innovation in the TD market since 2003, bringing numerous industry firsts.

… Read more at:  http://www.stericsson.com/press/Strong_presence_china_English.pdf

ST-Ericsson to cooperate with China Mobile on TD-LTE [Feb 16, 2010]:

ST-Ericsson, a world leader in wireless platforms and semiconductors, announced today it will cooperate with China Mobile on TD-LTE development and will support a demonstration of TD-LTE at Shanghai World EXPO in 2010.

ST-Ericsson will also actively participate on other TD-LTE projects organized by China Mobile, including trial and interoperability testing (IOT) with infrastructure vendors.

Bill Huang, General Manager of China Mobile Research Institute, said: “China Mobile and ST-Ericsson are co-operating very successfully on TD-SCDMA technology and we are happy to extend our partnership into the TD-LTE area and then multi-mode technologies in future. We share a common goal of creating a global LTE market encompassing both TDD and FDD technologies.”

ST-Ericsson’s key milestones in LTE:

  • In December 2009, ST-Ericsson and Ericsson were first to achieve LTE and HSPA mobility with a multimode device. Read more at www.stericsson.com/press_releases/LTE_HSPA.jsp
  • 2009: Fully working LTE chipset available and interoperability testing of the platform with operators
  • 2008: Platform interoperability tests activities initiated with network vendors
  • 2007: First handheld LTE prototype available and first handheld public demonstration at Mobile World Congress in 2008
  • 2004-2005: ST-Ericsson started research and standardization activities related to LTE

ST-Ericsson launches feature rich mobile internet platform in China – T6718 enables development of cost-effective and power-efficient multimedia TD-HSPA handsets [May 27, 2010]:

The T6718 is the first commercial 65 nanometer-based TD-HSPA platform, enabling manufacturers to quickly produce compact, cost efficient and feature-rich mobile broadband handsets for the Chinese market. ST-Ericsson expects the T6718, which can support downlink speeds of 2.8Mbps and uplink speeds of 2.2Mbps, to be in commercial products from Q3 2010.

… Handsets based on the T6718 platform will be able to deliver up to seven hours of talk-time or 25 days of standby on one battery charge. Incorporating software support for Assisted-GPS (AGPS), the T6718 will also enable location-based services, such as navigation and local search.


The dual mode TD-HSPA/EDGE modem is integrated with an ARM processor to deliver small size, fast response time and low power. This is also the first TD-HSPA solution to take advantage of the additional size and power benefits of the 65 nm process node.

The T6718 delivers a rich Internet experience including fast browsing, streaming video, broadcast television and other multimedia services on a touch-screen display. The 5 Mpixel camera support and video recording capability coupled with the graphics hardware accelerator provide a great visual consumer experience. Furthermore, the T6718 has the lowest power consumption in its class which means more hours enjoying music, video, internet access and talking.

High performance and low power consumption

  • The first commercial 65 nanometer based TD-SCDMA
    on the market
  • Talk time up to 7 hours and stand by up to 25 days on one battery charge (standard 1000mAh battery)
  • ARM926 processor up to 416 MHz


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