Sequans' low-cost LTE platform makes a play for the Internet of Things

Sequans Communications is aiming to make LTE as affordable as older 2G technologies for use in machine-to-machine (M2M) applications and the Internet of Things (IoT). The Paris-based chipmaker says it has closed in on that goal with its new Colibri LTE platform.

sequans Colibri LTE platform

Sequans' Colibri LTE platform

"In developing Colibri, our goal was to pack it with great IoT features while making it so cost-effective that it would immediately solidify the business cases for adding LTE to numerous new M2M and IoT devices," said Georges Karam, Sequans' CEO. He added that Colibri enables LTE modules "to approach 2G price points."

The new platform is part of Sequans' Streamlite LTE family of chipsets for M2M and IoT. Colibri comprises baseband and RF chips (the SQN3221 and SQN3241, respectively), an integrated network and application central processing unit (CPU) running Sequans' LTE protocol stack, an IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) client and a software package for over-the-air device management and packet routing.

Colibri supports 3GPP Release 10, is software upgradeable to Release 11 and also supports FDD and TDD transmission modes with up to 20 MHz-wide channels. In addition, Colibri supports voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi SoftAP. It also includes Sequans' own interference-cancelation technology, Sequans Air, for improved cell-edge performance.

The platform includes a turnkey package for major operating systems, including Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android and ChromeOS, Linux, Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows and Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) Mac OS.

Sequans used wafer-level packaging for both for the baseband and RF chips, giving the Colibri platform much lower power consumption and a compact form factor. Those features make Colibri suitable for use in a variety of modules for applications in home security, automotive, healthcare, wearables, utilities and other markets, the chipmaker added. 

Sequans expects modules based on the Colibri platform to be available from module manufacturers beginning in the third quarter of 2014.

Sequans, which made its name in the WiMAX market, shifted its R&D focus to LTE after primary customer Clearwire, now part of Sprint (NYSE: S), turned its attention from WiMAX to TD-LTE in the second half of 2011.

The chipmaker reported in April that its first-quarter 2014 revenue was $4.5 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 96 percent, thanks to an increase in revenues from LTE markets. The company's net loss for 2014's first quarter was $8.3 million, an improvement over the $9.4 million that Sequans lost in the first quarter a year earlier.

For more:
- see this Sequans release

Related articles:
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Marvell, MediaTek unveil new chips to target Internet of Things
Verizon certifies more Sequans modules for adding quick LTE embedding
Sequans snags LTE design wins in U.S., other markets
Sequans pushes into LTE Advanced
Sequans launches LTE chips for embedded devices despite ongoing losses

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