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Qualcomm-TDK Packs RF Front Ends

December 12, 2017

Author: Mike Demler

Qualcomm’s joint venture (JV) with TDK has yielded a new family of RF-front-end (RFFE) products that are more integrated than their predecessors. The JV, which operates under the name RF360 Holdings, began operations in 1Q17. Its products combine Qualcomm’s antenna tuners, envelope trackers, power amplifiers (PAs), and switches with TDK’s bulk-acoustic-wave (BAW) and surface-acoustic-wave (SAW) filters. The result is a family of complete antenna-to-modem solutions that allows smartphone OEMs to select the prequalified components they need for a particular geographical region and price tier, from entry level to premium.

One RF360 product is the QPM2622, which supports the new 600MHz LTE band 71 in a low-band power-amplifier module with integrated duplexer (PAMID). For premium global phones designed to handle all the popular LTE bands, manufacturers can combine the low-band QPM2622 with the mid-band QPM2632 and high-band QPM2642. These PAMIDs provide carrier aggregation (CA) with 4x4 MIMO antennas. The new RF360 product line includes the D8356 diversity-receive (DRX) filter module, enabling 600MHz downlink CA.

Although the new 600MHz RF360 products improve Qualcomm’s position as the industry’s leading supplier of cellular radios, that boost is incremental, as the vast majority of smartphones will continue to connect through 700MHz and higher LTE frequencies. But the collaboration with TDK enables Qualcomm to offer a broad line of highly integrated PAMID and FEMID products, which will be attractive to OEMs looking to reduce cost across all price tiers and frequency bands.

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