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LTE has been seen as critical to the placement of Intel's CPUs and GPUs in mobile devices, as high-speed data communications is driving the market. Intel execs have said that the company has had a hard time placing its mobile chips in handsets for the U.S. market without being able to offer LTE capability, which the company has begun to deliver. In the fourth quarter of last year, Intel started shipping its single-mode LTE solution.
Single-mode LTE is useful when there is abundant LTE connectivity , but multimode is required for roaming. The XMM 7160 will revert to 3G connectivity if 4G is not available. The multimode LTE market is heating up, with such chips also being readied for shipment by MediaTek, Broadcom, Marvell and Nvidia.
In preparation for this move into LTE, Intel purchased Infineon's wireless unit in 2010 for $1.4 billion. Although Infineon at the time was only developing 2G and 3G, its technology and engineering talent were put to work to move Intel forward. But Intel is still catching up with Qualcomm, which announced earlier this summer the integration of multimode 3G/4G LTE into its Snapdragon 400 processors, an offering that Intel cannot yet match.