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8 February 2007


RFMD launches front-end solutions and complementary components for 3G multimode handsets

RF Micro Devices Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA has launched multiple new cellular power amplifiers, transmit modules and front-end modules targeting all tiers of GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 3G multimode handsets, to be showcased at next week’s 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The products, tiered by market segment, include dual-band GSM/GPRS power amplifier modules and transmit modules, quad-band GSM/GPRS power amplifier modules and transmit modules, quad-band EDGE polar modulator power amplifier modules and quad-band linear EDGE transmit modules.

The breadth of RFMD’s portfolio provides the option to choose the product that best fits a user’s requirements, claims the firm, whether it is lowest bill of materials, improved total radiated power (TRP) performance or the highest levels of integration.

At the 3GSM World Congress, RFMD will also unveil new front-end solutions for 3G multimode handsets, including a UMTS transmit solution that integrates two power amplifiers and a DC-to-DC converter to support multi-region (broadband) 3G mobile communication devices, providing the highest efficiency and greatest flexibility for 3G platforms supporting multiple regions, it is claimed. The new solutions also include three highly integrated (narrowband) UMTS front-end modules that support regions one, two and five, respectively. Each incorporates the power amplifier (PA), transmit SAW filter and duplexer, reducing I/O interface count and hence integration complexity.

The portfolio of complementary cellular components that RFMD is introducing is designed to address the increasing complexity of cellular front-ends in 3G multimode handsets.

Market research firm Gartner Dataquest forecasts that the 3G multimode handset market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 45% to more than 600 million units by 2010. A 3G multimode device includes a GPRS/EDGE path and at least one UMTS path, both of which require PA-based front-end solutions and associated complementary components. As such devices proliferate and as the number of bands increases to support multiple regions, the market for front-end solutions and complementary components in 3G multimode handsets is therefore expected to significantly outpace the rate of growth of cellular handsets.

Also, the increasing complexity of cellular front-ends in multiband, multimode 3G handsets is driving customer requirements for platform flexibility and energy conservation in 3G handset designs. “With our broad product portfolio for 3G front-ends and our industry-leading manufacturing scale, RFMD is able to address this increased demand, while also solving the growing requirements for energy conservation, platform flexibility and multi-region support as UMTS handsets proliferate and as new UMTS regions are added,” adds Eric Creviston, corporate VP of RFMD's cellular products group.

RFMD says that its new portfolio, which initially includes high-linearity, ultra-compact low-noise amplifiers (LNAs), low-loss, high-linearity switches, facilitates platform flexibility by easing the implementation of additional bands for multi-region support. Also, the portfolio’s low-noise DC-to-DC converters extend battery life and reduce thermal dissipation by reducing the power supply voltage delivered to the PA, thus reducing the system’s total dissipated power.

RFMD ads that its new portfolio increases its market opportunities in handsets beyond transceivers and power amplifier-based front-end solutions (where it claims to be the industry leader). The total addressable market for complementary cellular components in 3G multimode handsets (including standalone switches, DC-to-DC converters, LNAs, duplexers and other non-PA based components) is expected to exceed $1bn in 2010.