PLANO, Tex. --Dallas area startup Microtune Inc. here today announced a manufacturing agreement with Germany's X-FAB Semiconductor Foundries Group, which will provide BiCMOS processes for advanced radio-frequency ICs beginning in early 2001.
Under the pact, Microtune will use X-Fab's new 0.6-micron double-poly, double-metal BiCMOS technology for analog and mixed-signal chips, which are being aimed at RF broadband communications. Terms of the new foundry agreement were not released.
According to Microtune, the new foundry alliance will enable it to accelerate development of next-generation MicroTuner ICs, which will be aimed at replacing hybrid subsystems made up of discrete parts and individually tuned. These new single-chip MicroTuners are being developed for digital television sets, PC TVs, cable modems, set-top boxes and cable telephony boxes.
X-Fab said its highly specialized 0.6-micron BiCMOS process is targeted at cost-sensitive, high-performance analog and mixed-signal silicon ICs, including devices used in RF broadband communications. Microtune introduced its first single-chip tuners in early 1999 based on a 0.8-micron BiCMOS process at IBM Corp. (see Feb. 1, 1999, story).
"The X-FAB foundry will provide us expanded opportunities to strengthen our position as a leading RF-IC technology supplier with our MicroTuner line of single-chip tuners," said Douglas J. Bartek, chairman and CEO of Microtune.
For X-Fab, based in Erfurt, Germany, the foundry agreement is a chance to become the key production source of RF products that have huge volume potentials. X-Fab has three production facilities--two in Germany and one in Lubbock, Tex.--with a total capacity of more than 8,000 six-inch wafer starts per week. The company said it is now increasing its capacity to provide 12,000 wafers starts per week for the silicon foundry markets.