Smartphones are known to have the ability to communicate online, play games, chase dramas, chat and read novels. They are true all-rounders in everyday life. But what most people don't know is that enabling these capabilities also requires something called baseband. Without it, the smartphone cannot connect to the internet.
We will not repeat the professional explanation of baseband. Simply put, it's the component that controls the cell phone signal. The main work is to complete the demodulation, descrambling, expansion and decoding of the wireless signal in the mobile network. It can be said that it is a very critical part, and its importance is self-evident.
Qualcomm carrier aggregation technology BX8270NL, the best solution for 5G speed improvement, just like mobile phone chips are strong and weak, baseband chips are also high and low. However, users who often follow the mobile phone circle or the semiconductor industry may know that Qualcomm provides the best solutions in almost all industries, whether it is mobile phone chips or baseband chips. Even in the 5G era, Qualcomm's 5G baseband solution has always been the most widely used choice in the industry. According to data from market research firm Counterpoint in the fourth quarter of 2021, Qualcomm ranked first in 5G baseband chip shipments with a 76% share. It is not difficult to see from here that Qualcomm has made extraordinary achievements in 5G baseband.
Of course, Qualcomm baseband can be widely recognized by the industry, which is largely related to the strong carrier aggregation capability of the baseband itself. The radio frequency spectrum is the foundation of the development of the mobile communication industry and the core resource to promote the development of the industry. In the 5g era, in the three business scenarios of EMBB, MMTC and URLLC, the industry's demand for spectrum resources is more urgent, but spectrum resources are scarce and non-renewable, so we have to face the problem of shortage of spectrum resources. In this regard, the most direct approach in the industry is to increase the spectrum bandwidth and expand new spectrum resources. However, with either approach, there are some limitations. For example, the carrier bandwidth has a good agreement and cannot be changed at will; the breakthrough of high-frequency 5g cannot be achieved overnight. It's a slow climb.
In addition to the shortage of spectrum resources, the systems in different countries and regions are also different. Some may use FDD (frequency divided into two jobs), while others may use TDD (time divided into two jobs). However, whether it is a spectrum difference or a system difference, in a word, various frequency band combinations will be formed between FDD/TDD. These band combinations are difficult to cover each other, so network differences can be a very complex issue. It is precisely because of this or that problem that carrier aggregation technology has its existence value. For baseband suppliers such as Qualcomm, the 5g baseband supporting carrier aggregation technology can achieve the goal of maximizing the use of spectrum efficiency, ensuring that users can still obtain sufficient high-quality network experience in increasingly complex 5g scenarios, not only improving network speed. , it can also ensure the stability of the network, allowing us to calmly deal with watching 4K/8K live broadcasts and playing AR/VR cloud games.
With the continuous development of Qualcomm's baseband and the continuous breakthrough of spectrum aggregation capabilities, Qualcomm has been researching carrier aggregation technology for a long time. After the arrival of the 5g era, Qualcomm has also launched multiple generations of baseband products that support 5g spectrum aggregation, and the carrier aggregation capabilities of Qualcomm baseband are also constantly breaking through.
For example, Xiaolong X60 supports 5G millimeter wave and Sub-6GHz frequency band aggregation, which can provide operators with the highest flexibility for 5G deployment, make full use of the spectrum resources of each frequency band, and use its carrier aggregation characteristics to be compatible with a wider spectrum combination. In the Xiaolong X65 era, Qualcomm baseband has made new breakthroughs in supporting 5G spectrum aggregation. Previously, Qualcomm announced that it had successfully completed the dual-connection 5G data call test in the Sub-6GHz FD/TD frequency band and the millimeter wave frequency band. Based on the 5G standalone (SA) mode, the large bandwidth advantages of the millimeter wave frequency band were combined with the sub-6GHz FD/TD frequency band. Combined with the advantages of wide coverage, it can meet the need for greater bandwidth, even in areas that traditional wireless connections cannot reach.
With the rapid development of smartphones, there are 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. Besides the chip, the baseband plays a vital role. Without a baseband, a phone can't connect to a digital cellular network, so it can't make calls, send text messages, let alone get online. This is similar to every domestic broadband cat, responsible for converting electrical and digital signals, that is, modulation and demodulation.
When we enter the 5G era, even if some semiconductor companies can develop chips with powerful performance, they cannot successfully develop the 5G baseband required by the environment of the era. Therefore, we can see that some semiconductor companies choose to withdraw from baseband research and development, and some chip companies choose to insert third-party basebands. As far as 5g baseband is concerned, the remaining players are almost all Huawei, MediaTek, Samsung and Qualcomm. However, Qualcomm has shown a booming trend in 5g baseband.
According to the announcements released by Counterpointfoundry and AP/SoC fields, in the fourth quarter of 2021, Qualcomm won 76% of the market share in the baseband chip market, a year-on-year increase of 13%, far exceeding the second place of MediaTek with 18% and Samsung third with 4%. . It can be said that in the 5G baseband chip market, Qualcomm has formed a rolling trend! Why does this phenomenon occur?
First of all, the fourth quarter of each year is almost the peak season for mobile phone manufacturers and mobile phone semiconductor companies. Global demand for chips has risen sharply. Qualcomm has too many customers. TSMC's production capacity may be at risk. Samsung also expanded its production capacity. Not only are Qualcomm processors in sufficient supply, but they are also cost-effective. In addition, Xiaolong 888 is Qualcomm's first integrated flagship 5gsoc with strong performance. It has formed a trend of dominating the Antu performance charts, giving the Xiaolong 888 flagship a huge hype.
Secondly, when it comes to popular brands in the mobile phone market, Apple is an unavoidable topic. Although Apple has its own A15 processor, Qualcomm X60 baseband, iPhone13 series and even iPhone12 series baseband plug-ins are one of the important factors driving Qualcomm's baseband business.