A Tale of Two M2M LTE Strategies

By Paula Bernier October 21, 2013

Swiss-based u-blox, a company that makes wireless and directional modules for the consumer, M2M and automotive markets, used CTIA’s MobileCON event last week to tell its LTE story.

Mark Murray, u-blox director of sales for the Western region in the U.S., says the company is now in certification with its TOBY-L1 series solutions, which are based on Altair Semiconductor chipsets. This is a Verizon-only solution. Murray adds that some companies will adopt an LTE-only solution like this product without fallback because of Verizon’s strategy to put the LTE cell on the same pole as CDMA 1x. Some tablet firms will go for this option, he says, those in the automotive space typically will not because they need better coverage.

In the next couple months u-blox expects to launch the L200 series, which will deliver LTE will full fallback to HSPA and GSM. Products from that line will become generally available early next year. He adds that u-blox will offer solder-down and PCIe options first, and an NGFF form factor (a new version of PCIe) later.

Acquisition has played an important role in u-blox’s LTE strategy. Last year it acquired both U.K.-based software-defined modem chip development outfit Cognovo and 4MWireless, a chip and stack company.

“So we are moving very aggressively into LTE, for tablets,” says Murray.

The two LTE companies are just a subset of the businesses x-blox has purchased. For example, its 2007 acquisition of Italy’s NeonSeven got x-blox, whose roots are in the GPS space, into cellular modules. In all, x-blox has acquired eight companies in the last five years.

The strategy has paid off, as u-blox is growing quickly and has been profitable for 9 years straight, says Murray.

Edited by Alisen Downey

Executive Editor, TMC

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