Market Insight

Spreadtrum powers first 4G feature phone in India, but what does the future hold?

April 24, 2017  | Subscribers Only

Wayne Lam Wayne Lam Principal Analyst, Mobile Devices & Networks

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Spreadtrum has announced that its mobile SoC, the SC9820, is powering the first commercially available 4G feature phone in India. The proclamation comes on the heels of a combined $22 billion investment in Spreadtrum’s parent company, Tsinghua Unigroup from the China Development Bank and a national semiconductor fund. The company made the announcement from New Delhi on April 6, 2017, less than a month after Qualcomm announced its own plans to enable 4G feature phones in India and other developing markets, also from New Delhi. According to the announcement the first 4G feature phone to be sold in India is the Lava Connect M1.

The SC9820 features a 1.2GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A7 processor, ARM Mali-400 MP1 GPU and support for TDD-LTE, FDD-LTE, TD-SCDMA and GSM air interfaces. The SoC supports VoLTE and dual SIM functionality. Spreadtrum plans to support VoLTE networks across Latin America and Africa with the new 4G feature phone platform as well.

Last year the feature phone market was over 360 million units and by being one of the first movers in the segment, Spreadtrum stands to increase its unit shipment market share in the overall LTE baseband market where the company only held a less than 3% global unit share last year. Though there could be potential in increasing its market share from these products, the extent at which this could happen depends on the overall success of the 4G feature phone. The new 4G market segment is sure to face some challenges as devices begin to roll out, but will they be insurmountable?

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