When ZTE will ship new base stations powered by its own SoCs is not known. ZTE and Ceva appear to have been working together for some time, even though they just announced the licensing deal.
Ceva claims to have a dozen design wins for its Ceva-XC DSP among those developing base stations and network infrastructure. Aside from ZTE, Ceva discussed during the company's first quarter earnings call that an unnamed, influential wireless infrastructure supplier has adopted the CEVA-XC DSP for next generation, multi-mode LTE base station SoCs. Briman confirmed it but he would not disclose the name. ZTE and Mindspeed are the two companies Ceva named so far as Ceva-XC DSP licensees.
LTE in China
China's push for LTE networks is very real, with China Mobile in particular moving forward with great urgency. In March, China Mobile said it would spend almost $7 billion this year to build its new LTE network, a move many in the telecom industry believe would benefit major suppliers like ZTE and Huawei.
China Mobile's LTE drive is said to have been triggered by the limited success the operator has had with its own proprietary TD-SCDMA 3G technology. With a faster rollout of TD-LTE, "China Mobile hopes to leapfrog 3G," explained Ceva's Briman.
It's no secret that China Mobile has lagged behind rivals China Unicom and China Telecom in 3G network penetration, 3G network subscribers and market share. To be blamed are: TD-SCDMA's incompatibility with other 3G networks in China and constrained TD-SCDMA network coverage.
In late June, China Mobile launched a tender for suppliers to build its 4G TD-LTE network in China, including equipment for 207,000 base stations in 31 provinces.
Speaking of the tender, a website called Mobile World Live speculated in late June:
Analysts have argued that domestic network equipment vendors will have an advantage over foreign companies, with Huawei and ZTE expected to secure more than half of the share of China Mobile's network build.
Last October, China Mobile revealed TD-LTE contracts for some 20,000 base stations and 52,000 carrier sectors. China Mobile awarded ZTE a contract for the rollout of its TD-LTE network in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shenyang. Alcatel-Lucent was then awarded a contract for three more cities as part of the company's plan to cover a total of 13 cities with the trial.