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Chipmakers differ on migration to TD-SCDMA

Posted: 05 Nov 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:td-scdma? 3g? mobile network? dsp? baseband?

Chipmakers took different views on how much their development work will be affected by China's drive to use TD-SCDMA technology in a regional 3G mobile network, with assessments of the impact ranging from slim to severe.

Reacting to China's decision to allocate spectrum for TD-SCDMA, Texas Instruments said the move validates its DSP-based approach to radio baseband design. "There are many standards, and with a DSP-based SDR (software-defined radio) approach, system vendors can accommodate most, if not all of those in a single system," said Sandeep Kumar, strategic marketing manager for wireless infrastructure at TI. The only customers who stand to suffer are those who have committed to an ASIC design, he said.

Donald Chu, business development manager of the wireless infrastructure division of Analog Devices Inc., said his company will also see minimal impact. "We already have suitable down- and up-converters," he said. "The specs for TD-SCDMA are similar - if not more relaxed - to cdma2000 with respect to chip rate, filtering and noise requirements." A greater issue will be handset availability, Chu said. However, adjacent channel interference and blocking requirements will not be known until China finalizes its 3G specification, Chu said.

Motorola Inc.'s Semiconductor Products Sector is already pursuing a chipset that will support the TD-SCDMA protocol, said Jim Mielke, director of radio products architecture and applications. The chipset will be part of the i.300 Innovative Convergence platform, which is scheduled for delivery in 2004, he said.

"It is not a big shift to include TD-SCDMA within semiconductors, especially with advances in software-defined radios," said Jim Gunn, an associate with Forward Concepts Co.

But Lou Lupin, senior vice president and general counsel for Qualcomm Inc., said many chipmakers may be taking an overly simplistic view. Qualcomm owns intellectual property rights for any CDMA-based technology, he said, and has to date licensed TD-SCDMA-based technology to over 40 companies. "Each implementation of CDMA - whether it is W-CDMA, cdma2000 or TD-SCDMA - has shown itself difficult to implement," he said. "It is definitely not a minor modification or tweak to go from one to the other and will require a lot redesign work."

No Chinese manufacturers have yet licensed Qualcomm's TD-SCDMA intellectual property, but Lupin said they will have to if they move forward with the standard. "But it is very early yet, setting aside the spectrum is only a very preliminary step," he said. "But if they do push forward, we are very willing to license our IP fairly."

- Patrick Mannion

EE Times

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