Sequans launches LTE chips for embedded devices despite ongoing losses

Chipmaker Sequans Communications introduced a new line of LTE semiconductors for embedded devices but also acknowledged that its switch in focus from WiMAX to LTE is still far from profitable.

Sequans said its new StreamliteLTE line is designed to offer low power consumption at a lot total cost, enabling the chips to be used in enable affordable consumer electronics (CE) and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices for the mass market. The first chip in Sequans' StreamliteLTE product family is the SQN3101 Firefly, an LTE baseband chip that delivers up to 50 Mbps of throughput with ultra low power consumption. The SQN3101 Firefly is available now.

The StreamliteLTE product family joins Sequans' primary LTE product family, StreamrichLTE, which is designed for use in high-end, feature-rich LTE smartphones, tablets and other devices.

"We established StreamliteLTE because we recognized the need for chip solutions that fit the large and growing market for LTE Internet-connected devices," said Georges Karam, Sequans CEO. "These devices--digital cameras, e-readers, portable gaming devices, digital signs--require a price/performance ratio very different from that required by high-end smartphones and tablets."

ABI Research has forecast that the LTE-connected devices market, including CE, M2M and other non-handset devices, will account for more than 30 percent of the overall LTE market by 2016.

Sequans also disclosed financial results for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2012. The company's revenue of $8 million was down nearly 70 percent from 2011's third quarter due to lower sales of WiMAX products to its primary customer, believed to be Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), beginning in the second half of 2011. Sequans did, however, record a sequential revenue increase of 13.5 percent from the second quarter of 2012, which the company said reflected an increase in shipments of products, partially offset by lower license and maintenance revenues.

Sequans' net loss for the third quarter of 2012 was $5.8 million, an improvement over the net loss of $8.3 million in the second quarter of 2012. The company recorded a profit of $3.2 million in the third quarter of 2011.

Sequans expects revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 to be in the range of $4 to $6 million. "We expect a reduced contribution from sales of our WiMAX solution in Q4 compared to Q3, but sequentially higher LTE revenues in Q4. Although delays in network service launches are pushing out our LTE revenue acceleration, overall, our confidence is growing as we see the dynamics of the LTE market gradually shifting in our favor. As LTE technology matures and coverage expands, we expect growing demand for single-mode LTE solutions, an area where we are particularly well-positioned," said Karam

In other news, Sequans announced that Modacom, a Korean maker of wireless broadband data communications devices, adopted Sequans LTE c hips.

For more:
- see this Sequans release, this release and this release

Related articles:
Sequans watching costs during transition from WiMAX to LTE
D2 and Sequans tout turnkey VoLTE reference design
Sequans, Clearwire collaborating on TD-LTE devices
Sequans' WiMAX biz suffers but company eyes LTE growth
Sequans says LTE more important than WiMAX in the long term

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