MediaTek Inc (聯發科), which counts Chinaese smartphone brands Xiaomi Corp (小米) and Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) among its clients, expects shipments of its long-term evolution (LTE) smartphone chips to triple next year from this year.
Benefiting primarily from the uptake of 4G handsets in China, LTE smartphone chips will account for more than 50 percent of the chipmaker’s overall smartphone shipments next year, up from 20 percent this year, MediaTek said yesterday.
“China’s replacement demand for 4G smartphones is unexpectedly strong [this year],” company president Hsieh Ching-jiang (謝清江) told a news conference.
China Mobile Ltd (中國移動), the world’s largest telecom operator, and Chinese peers, including China Telecom Corp (中國電信) and China Unicom Ltd (中國聯通), are encouraging users to transfer to advanced technologies, which is expected to stimulate demand there.
“China Mobile is set to garner 60 million LTE subscribers this year, exceeding its original estimate of 50 million users,” Hsieh said. “That is a huge figure, given this year is the first year of its launch of LTE services.”
The growth trend will extend into next year, he said, projecting that China’s three largest telecom operators could have a combined total of 300 million LTE subscribers next year, up from 120 million users this year.
Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) forecast that China’s LTE penetration rate will jump to 40 percent next year, compared with 15 to 20 percent this year, thanks to the availability of affordable LTE chips.
MediaTek supplies chips to more than 100 Chinese customers, including China Mobile.
Riding on China’s LTE boom, the Taiwanese firm might ship more than 100 million LTE smartphone chips next year, Hsieh said.
That would be more than three times the company’s shipment target of 30 million units for this year.
MediaTek is scheduled to ship its first full-mode LTE chip in the second quarter of next year, expanding its customer base to telecoms, such as China Telecom, that use CDMA2000 technology.
“The launch of the new full-mode LTE chip is a significant development for MediaTek, allowing us to enter new markets,” Hsieh said.
MediaTek would be able to add China Telecom, Verizon Wireless Inc and Sprint Corp of the US, as well as other telecom companies from South Korea and India to its customer base, Hsieh said.
Hsieh said the CDMA2000 market is a new avenue for growth for the company, given that the number of worldwide CDMA2000 subscribers could reach 300 million a year.
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