世界各国のリアルタイムなデータ・インテリジェンスで皆様をお手伝い

LTE RF設計:問題点とビジネスチャンス ー ヘビーリーディング社の年間購読サービス「4G/LTE Insider」(Vol. 4, No. 2)

LTE RF Design: Problems & Opportunities

4G/LTE Insider - Vol. 4, No. 2

 

出版社 出版年月電子版価格 ページ数
Heavy Reading
ヘビーリーディング社
2013年6月US$2,500
エンタープライズライセンス
11

サマリー

この調査レポートは、LTEデバイス用のアンテナやRF部品の市場に影響を与える要件を特定し、分析している。40バンドをサポートするアクティブアンテナやチューニング回路(周波数調整)、クアルコムのRF360などのフロントエンド製品などのLTEの課題に、ベンダがどのように対応しているかを明らかにしている。この調査レポートは、世界の代表的なRFベンダとモバイル事業者へのインタビューに基づいている。

ヘビーリーディング社は、年間購読サービスも提供しています。
この調査レポートは、年間購読サービス「4G/LTE Insider」の一部です。

This report was finalized just as some iPhone 4 owners were receiving $15 checks as part of a class action settlement for "Antennagate," the mini scandal that erupted after initial buyers reported dropped calls and other signal-related problems based on how they held their iPhone. It's not a stretch to call Antennagate a wake-up moment for Apple and other device vendors, their suppliers and mobile operators in terms of showing how radio frequency (RF) design directly affects everything from brand reputation to the bottom line.

Antennagate was caused by detuning, where the position of the user's head, hand or both causes the antenna to operate outside the intended frequency range. Long Term Evolution (LTE) takes these and other RF challenges to another level. For example, until operators build out LTE coverage so it's on par with 3G/2G, LTE smartphones must have the antennas and other RF components necessary to fall back to those legacy networks to provide voice. If the smartphone is aimed at people who want to roam regionally or globally on LTE rather than legacy technologies, then it has to support additional bands: potentially up to 15. Between LTE's multiple input multiple output (MIMO) architecture and band fragmentation, 3G/2.5G/2G fallback, GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the antenna count can get out of hand.

All these challenges add up to major, emerging, long-term opportunities for antenna vendors and other RF companies to differentiate their products and compete on more than just price. For example, to accommodate band fragmentation and limited space, there's a nascent shift underway from passive antennas toward more sophisticated active antennas. Antennagate helps antenna vendors convince device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that active designs' performance and reliability are worth the extra cost. That's why LTE RF design is something that investors shouldn't overlook when identifying ways to make money from the global migration to LTE.

Consumers and enterprises are upgrading to LTE because device vendors and operators have convinced them that it's blindingly fast compared to 3G. And it is. So when LTE fails to live up to that expectation, customers inundate operator call centers and social networks with questions and complaints. Antennas and other RF components are critical for meeting that expectation and avoiding the support costs, churn and brand hits that are the unwelcome alternatives.

Band fragmentation arguably is the biggest RF-related challenge when it comes to LTE. Products such as multiband antennas and Qualcomm's RF360 are less about being able to build a smartphone that can roam the world and more about device OEMs being able to stock as few SKUs as possible. The additional costs associated with region- or operator-specific SKUs are problematic as LTE expands into price-sensitive markets and demographics.

LTE RF Design: Problems & Opportunities identifies and analyzes key issues affecting the market for antennas and other RF components for LTE devices. It explores how vendors are responding to LTE's challenges with active antennas, tuning circuits and front-end products such as Qualcomm's RF360, which supports 40 bands. This report is based on interviews with a representative sample of RF vendors and mobile operators from around the world.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:

  • Among the vendors and operators interviewed for this report, the consensus is that band fragmentation creates LTE's biggest RF challenges. One reason for this situation is that in a rush to get to LTE to market to get or stay competitive, operators had to be creative spectrum-wise, including refarming 2G/3G spectrum and using whatever they could get their hands on. There are more than 40 bands worldwide approved for LTE. About 19 are currently in use. The following excerpt illustrates the spectrum breakdown by world region.

  • Total pages: 11


目次

目次ファイルのダウンロード

 

ページTOPに戻る

プレスリリース

Next-Gen Challenges of LTE RF Design

6/10/2013

 

With Long Term Evolution (LTE), you've got the whole world in your hand … or a global ecosystem, anyway. It's going to be a while before you can hold an LTE tablet or smartphone that will work nearly anywhere in the world the way its GSM or UMTS ancestors can.

That's the double-edged sword of LTE: Virtually the entire cellular world is migrating to it, which means enormous economies of scale over the long term. In the short term, operators and regulators are scrounging for every bit of available spectrum for LTE. The result is more than 40 potential bands, roughly 19 of which are currently in use.

Smartphone OEMs would love to have a small set of core LTE bands that they could build into their devices so they will work in most parts of the world. As explained in the new Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, "LTE RF Design: Problems & Opportunities," this desire isn't so much because there's an enormous market for LTE devices that can roam globally. Instead, it's more so that OEMs can have as few SKUs (stock keeping units) as possible for each device model and still tap the widest possible market. Minimizing SKUs will become increasingly important as operators launch LTE in developing markets, where price sensitivity makes it financially difficult to have operator- or country-specific SKUs.

LTE also has the challenge of arriving in the middle of a trend toward ever-thinner smartphones and tablets. Those form factors make it difficult to find room for antennas not only for multiple LTE bands, but also for 3G/2.5G/2G fallback, Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi and GPS. "These devices can become a porcupine," says a Tier 1 U.S. operator executive.

By some estimates, the thin-is-in trend is reducing the space available for antennas and other radio frequency (RF) components by 25 percent per year. For device OEMs, the good news is that there's no shortage of vendors -- Ethertronics Inc., Qualcomm Inc. and SkyCross Inc. among them -- stepping up with antennas and other RF solutions designed to accommodate these and other LTE challenges. The trick is convincing OEMs that hardware such as active antennas are key for not only delivering regional or global LTE roaming, but also for the performance that users expect from 4G.

"They've gotten used to paying pennies for antennas," says one chipset vendor, referring to device OEMs. "To them, it's just a piece of stamped metal. These active antennas and tunable antennas, they consume power and take up more footprint and they cost more. So there's this hesitancy to go to a premium-priced component that they're used to paying pennies for."

What could change their minds? One thing is a reputation for poor performance. As it happens, this report was written just as some iPhone 4 owners were receiving US$15 checks as part of a class action settlement for "Antennagate" -- the mini scandal that erupted after initial buyers reported dropped calls and other signal-related problems based on how they held their iPhone. It's not a stretch to call Antennagate a wake-up moment for vendors and operators about how RF design directly affects everything from brand reputation to the bottom line.

LTE's RF challenges aren't limited to smartphones and tablets. Some chipset vendors predict that LTE-only RF modules (sans antennas) will drop to $20 in volume by the end of this year. That decline means OEMs of digital cameras and other CE devices, as well as commercial products such as video surveillance cameras, will increasingly want to add LTE to their products. Doing so will be easier said than done because those companies typically lack in-house RF design experience. As a result, there will be opportunities for antenna manufacturers and other RF vendors to provide those OEMs with LTE solutions that they can basically drop into their products, rather than taking on the cost and lead time of trying to develop those on their own.

RF systems are one more example of how LTE isn't a market where any vendor can parachute in and assume success. But for those that have what it takes, there's a lot of money to be made by solving all of those problems.

— Tim Kridel, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider
 


This report, "LTE RF Design: Problems & Opportunities," is available as part of an annual subscription (6 issues per year) to Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900.

 


LTE RF Issues Create Opportunities for Antenna & Device Makers, Heavy Reading Says

 

Antenna and device makers are finding current LTE RF issues allow new ways to be competitive in quality and price in the market, says Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider

Jun 7, 2013

BOSTON, June 7, 2013

Vendors are realizing that radio frequency (RF) design is vastly important, and current design issues offers emerging antenna vendors opportunities to be more competitive in quality and price, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, a paid research service of Heavy Reading .

LTE RF Design: Problems & Opportunities identifies and analyzes key issues affecting the market for antennas and other RF components for LTE devices. It explores how vendors are responding to LTE's challenges with active antennas, tuning circuits and front-end products such as Qualcomm's RF360, which supports 40 bands. This report is based on interviews with a representative sample of RF vendors and mobile operators from around the world.

"This report was finalized just as some iPhone 4 owners were receiving $15 checks as part of a class action settlement for 'Antennagate' – the mini scandal that erupted after initial buyers reported dropped calls and other signal-related problems based on how they held their iPhone," notes Tim Kridel, research analyst with Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider and author of the report. "It's not a stretch to call Antennagate a wake-up moment for Apple and other device vendors, their suppliers and mobile operators in terms of showing how RF design directly affects everything from brand reputation to the bottom line."

Current challenges add up to major, emerging, long-term opportunities for antenna vendors and other RF companies to differentiate their products and compete on more than just price, Kridel says. "Consumers and enterprises are upgrading to LTE because device vendors and operators have convinced them that it's blindingly fast compared to 3G," he continues. "So when LTE fails to live up to that expectation, customers inundate operator call centers and social networks with questions and complaints. Antennas and other RF components are critical for meeting that expectation and avoiding the support costs, churn and brand hits that are the unwelcome alternatives."

Key findings of LTE RF Design: Problems & Opportunities include:

  • Band fragmentation and legacy fallback are two major challenges for LTE RF designers
  • Qualcomm's recent expansion into the RF front end business shows how LTE's challenges also are business opportunities
  • Qualcomm's new RF360 solution won't single-handedly enable LTE global roaming or solve fragmentation
  • LTE's unique requirements makes it easier for antenna vendors to escape the commoditization trap
  • Digital cameras and other consumer electronics devices are adding LTE, but their OEMs often lack RF design experience
  • Teamwork between RF designers and industrial designers could mitigate problems such as head and hand detuning

LTE RF Design: Problems & Opportunities is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (6 issues per year) to Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900 (single-user license).

 

あなたが最近チェックしたレポート一覧

  • 最近チェックしたレポートはありません。

お問合は、お電話またはWEBから承ります。お見積もりの作成もお気軽にご相談ください。

webからのお問合せはこちらのフォームから承ります

このレポートへのお問合せ

03-3582-2531

電話お問合せもお気軽に

<無料>メルマガに登録する

 

 

ページTOPに戻る