Qualcomm announces world's first global LTE baseband chip

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LTE fragmentation can be a real hassle for travelers and companies making multiple versions of the same device for different markets. Case in point, the iPhone 5 currently produced in two GSM variants plus a CDMA version, and the iPad’s 4G denomination already cost Apple a $2.25 million fine in Australia for misleading customers into thinking it would work with the country’s LTE networks on the 1800MHz band.

Qualcomm is looking to make that a thing of the past with the introduction of a new radio chipset, dubbed the RF360, that will play well with the roughly 40 different frequencies currently used by carriers around the world and seven cellular modes: LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE.

"The wide range of radio frequencies used to implement 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks globally presents an ongoing challenge for mobile device designers," said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president of product management, Qualcomm Technologies. "Our new RF devices are tightly integrated and will allow us the flexibility and scalability to supply OEMs of all types, from those requiring only a region-specific LTE solution, to those needing LTE global roaming support."

In addition to the wide range of supported bands, Qualcomm RF360 also consume less power, generate less heat, improves antenna performance and reduces chip footprint inside of a smartphone by up to 50% compared to current generation chips, allowing for even thinner designs or freeing up space for other components.

Qualcomm is anticipating a second-half of 2013 launch for products using the chipset.

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