Baseband SoC Cost questions

Discussion in 'Mobile Devices and SoCs' started by iwod, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. iwod

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    I was reading the cost analysis on iPhone 5, the Baseband and transceiver from Qualcomm cost somewhere from a estimate of $25 to $35. Which is up significantly from iPhone 4 (~$10 ) and iPhone 4S (~$15).

    1. Why does it cost so much?
    2. Surely Apple would have some incentives to have their own Baseband and integrated as well. Are their no IP available for them to do so?

    Apart from Qualcomm, which is dominating the market at the moment, what other solution are available. Nivida has Icera, Samsung has their own Stack, LG (?), ST-E has their own version as well. Broadcom? ( Any player using their solution? ), Intel has Infineon...
     
  2. McHuj

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    It costs so much because its the best one on the market ( or at least was when those phones using it were being designed)

    It's a much bigger chip too since it contains LTE. The prior iPhones were only 3G. LTE capability is a premium.

    I wondered if Apple would start making the baseband as well, but that's really hard and I'm not sure it's worth the investment of time and money for them. Building a working baseband the first time is a multiyear process.

    I think Broadcom has an LTE solution, NEC has one, Mediatek as well (or will soon)
     
  3. iwod

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    I just did a bit more research. The A6 28nm is roughly 100mm2 which cost at roughly $17 - $25.
    This cost is purely wafer price since Apple makes Zero money on its SoC. I think $17 was closely to what Apple was originally paying for until the agreement in 2013 with Samsung to hike the price 30%. Which should be around ~$22 - $24. This makes the price per wafer, as most believe to be around the same as what TSMC is charging.

    Qulacomm, the new Model 9x15 is also around 100mm2 as well and built on TSMC 28nm. I suspect the price will be slightly cheaper since the A6 is a more complex SoC. But Even Counting it as a $20 to make, and add in with the Transceiver, a 48mm2 , 65nm RF CMOS, i am guessing it cost a mere $5.

    That is $25 dollar to make excluding R&D, and profits etc.

    For a 100M Cellular devices a year that is a potential savings of 1B.

    Would love to hear Arun's take on this.
     
  4. Helmore

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    I know I'm just nitpicking here, but I believe Apple's A6 chips are on Samsung's 32 nm process. Samsung does have a 28 nm process and Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa will be made on that, which makes it pretty reasonable to expect Apple chips on a 28 nm process sometime this year.
     
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