LAS VEGAS — MediaTek came to International CES this year with a singular focus: going global.
Taiwan's chip behemoth, which dominates the Chinese market, is now intent on establishing a foothold in the United States in addition to Europe and Japan. For that, the company has new ammo: a multimode-LTE modem chipset, currently going through operators' arduous certification process; and an advanced "worldphone" SoC that will incorporate CDMA2000. But the commercial version of the worldphone won't hit the market until early 2015.
Dubbed MT6290, MediaTek's LTD chipset handles both FDD and TDD modes. Designed for broad compatibility with mobile operator networks worldwide, the chip supports the DC-HSPA+, W-CDMA, TD-SCDMA, EDGE, and GSM/GPRS radio technologies, in addition to LTE.
Still missing in the radio mix is CDMA2000.
MediaTek addressed the issue this week by announcing collaboration with VIA Telecom for integrating VIA's CDMA2000 technology into MediaTek's upcoming worldphone SoC.
The move, in turn, will open the door for CEVA, a DSP core IP vendor, to seek a big design win in MediaTek's SoC. This is possible because CEVA's TeakLite DSP core is already used at the heart of VIA Telecom's CDMA2000 baseband solution.
While CEVA CEO Gideon Wertheizer declined to publicly connect the dots, MediaTek President C.J. Hsieh, in an interview with EE Times, confirmed that CEVA will be in MediaTeK's worldphone SoC.
MediaTek President C.J. Hsieh
Why CDMA2000 now?
Qualcomm and Samsung are the two biggest LTE modem players, and Huawei (through its HiSilicon chip subsidiary) is in the Chinese and Korean LTE markets, according to Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts, the Arizona-based market research company. Marvell also recently cracked the China market with an LTE and TD-SCDMA modem, Strauss told us.
But often, so-called newly designed "global" LTE modem chips -- developed by vendors other than Qualcomm -- do not address CDMA2000.
In an impromptu interview with EE Times at CES, Sehat Sutardja, CEO of Marvell, confirmed that Marvell's multimode LTE solution does not include CDMA2000. It's because "that standard is going away anyway," he said. Sutardja referred to Verizon Wireless's announcement in which the carrier said it is to sunset 2G and 3G CDMA networks by 2021.
Finbarr Moynihan, general manager, international sales and marketing at MediaTek, disagrees.