Broadcom to take on Qualcomm with LTE chips next year

Broadcom will start providing sample LTE chipsets to customers next year, the company confirmed, indicating that it wants to catch up with industry leader and rival Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM).

Bob Rango, the company's general manager for wireless, announced the LTE plan during the company's annual investor meeting yesterday, according to Reuters. Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor did not say when commercial smartphones using its LTE chips would be available, but he included LTE in a list of "signposts" investors should look for in the next year.

"We need to be there," McGregor said. "We're not there today."

Broadcom is already a leading provider of so-called combo chips, which include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM and GPS onto a single chip. Still, the company is far behind Qualcomm and others when it comes LTE baseband chips; adding that capability to its portfolio would likely boost revenue and get Broadcom chips into more smartphones.

According to a November report from research firm Strategy Analytics, Broadcom trailed Qualcomm, MediaTek and Intel in the cellular baseband market in the first half of 2012, but came ahead of ST-Ericsson. The research firm noted that Broadcom continued to improve its portfolio and that its 3G baseband shipments showed over 600 percent year-over-year growth in in the first half.

The announcement about the LTE chips came amid a big week for Broadcom. On Wednesday the company increased its fourth-quarter revenue forecast to the high end of its expectations, citing slightly better-than-expected sales in its wireless business. Broadcom hiked its fourth-quarter revenue forecast to $2 billion to $2.1 billion, up from its previous range of $1.95 billion to $2.1 billion.

Further, Broadcom announced three new processors aimed at new 3G Android smartphones, including a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor with HSPA+ capabilities.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article
- see this MarketWatch article

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