Intel is buying the wireless assets of small cell expert Mindspeed, which agreed last month to be acquired by MACOM. Mindspeed said at that time that it would find a buyer for its wireless assets.
Mindspeed, which bought Picochip last year, brings to Intel experience in signal processing-related technologies and IP for base stations. Intel says its platforms can already offer carriers application processing, control processing and packet processing, and now the chip giant will add signal processing expertise as well. The company says it has already progressed toward enabling signal processing on Intel-based servers through collaboration with China Mobile and SKT in cloud radio access network design.
The Transcede 4000, which includes 26 programmable processors, is Mindspeed’s key small cell chipset. The solution supports W-CDMA, LTE-FDD, and TD-LTE and is Mindspeed says it is the only small cell chipset to support TD-SCDMA.
Mindspeed claims the top position in deployed small cell processors worldwide and says it has a 70% market share in 3G/HSPA deployments. The Picochip purchase strengthened Mindspeed’s position in the femtocell market, which has attracted the interest of carriers and enterprises looking for indoor small cell solutions that leverage Ethernet backhaul.
The purchase will make Intel an immediate contender in the market for small cell silicon. The field is already crowded, with companies entering the small cell space from multiple directions. Qualcomm and Broadcom, which make chips for mobile devices, have solutions for small cells, as do companies like Texas Instruments and Freescale which make chips for macro base stations. Cavium, which makes chips for enterprise networks and data centers, is also a small cell chipset maker.
Mindspeed’s wireless access division has offices in the UK, California and China. The deal is expected to close in February, and financial terms were not disclosed.
Follow me on Twitter.