By Ken Briodagh
Altair Semiconductor, a provider of LTE chipsets, recently announced that its FourGee-3800 chipset has successfully completed a chipset Interoperability Test on the NTT DOCOMO network in Japan. NTT is Japan’s largest mobile services provider.
Altair has previously secured certifications from AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Korea Telecom.
“Providing LTE service for M2M applications in industrial sectors is one of our commitments, and with our nation-wide LTE network coverage, the LTE single-mode chipset is becoming a realistic low-cost alternative to be used for those applications,” said Toshiyuki Futakata, Senior Manager, Radio Access Technology Group, Communication Device Development Department, NTT DOCOMO. “We welcome Altair’s chipset, which is the first Cat-4 single mode LTE chipset to complete our chipset IOT, to provide attractive options to anyone who is interested in devices geared to be used in our network.”
Altair’s portfolio includes chipsets that support a wide range of LTE categories and use cases, from high-speed broadband to ultra-low power IoT-optimized products.
“Completing this IOT process with NTT DOCOMO is a strategic milestone,” said Eran Eshed, Co-founder and VP, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Altair. “Completing IOT with a top-tier carrier like DOCOMO serves to significantly expand Altair’s global presence, while providing customers with access to multiple new markets.
We spoke with Eshed to get some more details about the announcement.
IoT Evolution: We have been covering your acceptance as a Cat 1 solution. Remind us what Cat 4 does and how it is different?
Eran Eshed: Cat 4 supports rates of 150Mbps down and 50 up. It is more typical to applications and use cases that require a broadband connection – things like routers, tablets, portable hotspots as well as some higher bandwidth IoT applications.
IoTE: Explain how a Service Provider’s certification impacts adoption. Does this bring you into contact with developers and embedded systems integrators? Will enterprises use your certification as a milestone in RFI/RFP?
EE: Certification is an essential element on commercializing products for operation on cellular networks. At the base level, the chipset is required to be qualified or certified by the carrier. Without such credentials, products based on the chipset may not be operated on the networks. On top of the chipset certification, product level certification is required. This is a less intense process if the chipset is already certified. Chipset certification is the ‘heavy lifting’. It is a key differentiator for the chipset vendor as achieving it is both costly and time consuming.
IoTE: Is European adoption slower and, if so, is it because they do not have the pressure to migrate?
EE: Europe is a bit slower because LTE coverage is still not extensive across all markets. And yes, 2G and 3G are widely deployed and in full use, as carriers are less expeditious to remove these capex intense investments and replace them with new ones. In other markets, technologies such as CDMA have reached their end and have no road map, hence carriers are under more pressure to replace them. This is the case in the US and Korea for example.
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