Spreadtrum shows its TD-LTE hand with single-chip baseband modem

Spreadtrum, a Chinese fabless semiconductor designer has unveiled its first LTE enabled design. The SC9610 is a baseband modem based on TD-LTE, set to become the predominant LTE technology in China.

The SC9610 is CMOS silicon based and manufactured on a 40nm process and demonstrates the evolution of LTE chipset design by combining multiband TD-LTE along with TD-SCDMA 3G, and EDGE/GPRS and GSM.

The chip supports multiple bands, and can hit speeds on the downlink of 100Mbps and uplink speeds of 50Mbps and supports 5, 10, 15 and 20MHz channels and 2×2 MIMO.  It is not FDD-LTE compatible however, and a spokeperson told that a solution for that would be arriving later in the year.

The chip company said that the SC9610 is now sampling with potential customers but would not reveal who they were. However, in a canned quote, Spreadtrum’s president and CEO Dr Leo Li pointed out that China Mobile, is beginning “more extensive” trials of TD-LTE. It could be a hint.

China Mobile is the country’s largest domestic operator with 640 million total subscribers and an expected 50 million 3G subscribers as of the end of 2011, and is currently awaiting for the Chinese government to grant it commercial licences for LTE spectrum.

“The depth of experience we bring in TD-SCDMA products, combined with our early leadership in China’s 4G network evolution, positions Spreadtrum as a long-term leading provider of multimode baseband solutions,” Dr Leo Li said.

It is unknown what devies the SC9610 might turn up in but it is unlikely to be ‘the one’ for the next iPhone in the region as Apple only just achieving a single world phone with the iPhone 4S and is unlikely to want to change tack by going for the China only SC9610.

The next LTE conference is LTE Latin America 2012, taking place on the 17-18 April 2012,at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

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