|SPRD Relatively Better Than MediaTek in Fierce Smartphone War, Says Jefferies|
By Tiernan Ray
Jefferies & Co.’s Hong Kong-based chip analyst Robert Lea today offers an update on the battle for smartphone chips between Spreadtrum (SPRD) and Taiwan’s MediaTek (2454TW), writing that while he has a Sell rating on both stocks, it would appear Spreadtrum is in a relatively better position than MediaTek.
The backdrop is that intense competition for smartphone baseband processor prices, and other IC prices, are under pressure in some segments:
Our latest checks suggest W-CDMA Smartphone ASPs are currently close to US$10, versus our Q1 estimate of US$12 and US$15+ at the beginning of Q4 2011. Within the featurephone segment, GPRS ASPs are currently in the range of US$2.00 to US$2.20, versus our Q1 estimate of US$2.40 and US$2.5 as at the beginning of Q4 2011.
Lea suggests competition is only going to intensify over the next several quarters.
Spreadtrum has gotten the jump on both MediaTek and Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) with chips for China’s home-grown “TD-SCDMA” wireless standard:
SPRD is currently sampling a new, low- cost, 40nm, 1GHz TD-SCMDA Smartphone Android IC (SC8810) to customers. SPRD’s new TD-SCMA chip will be the first 40nm, single-chip solution on the market, providing Spreadtrum with a significant cost advantage versus competitors Mediatek and Marvell, in our view.
MediaTek, meanwhile, doesn’t appear to have the goods:
We retain a negative view on Mediatek’s prospects in TD-SCDMA and see its newly launched MT6513 and MT6515 (both are dual chip) as somewhat crude, interim products that will struggle to compete against more highly integrated, low cost solutions from SPRD, MStar [Semiconductor (3697TW)] and Qualcomm (QCOM). We expect MTK’s TD-SCDMA unit shipments to be flat YoY, at best, in 2012.
Shares of MediaTek today fell $1.50 in New Taiwan dollars, or half a point, to $302.50 in Taipei trading. Spreadtrum shares today are down 22 cents, or 1.4%, at $15.17