Intel: Falling Behind On Mobile?

Dec. 9.13 | About: Intel Corporation (INTC)

Intel (INTC) took a dive following its investor day meeting late in November. Click to enlarge
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Some investors took this is an opportunity to load up on shares, and others have expressed their dismay at the opportunity cost of placing their hard earned investor money in a somewhat stagnant company. Intel has been in stiff competition with Qualcomm (QCOM) in the area of mobile, even more so in one area that will be a huge product selling point in the coming year.

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The mobile war with regard to speed is about to come to a head in 2014 as the rollout of 4G LTE-Advanced expands. Interestingly, Qualcomm released its Snapdragon 800 chip in this middle of this year. The chip is currently being used in the mobile marketplace and can be seen in the Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S4. The Snapdragon 800 chip is 4G LTE-Advanced compatible, so if a user maintains their phone long enough, they will likely be able to stream movies much faster on 4G LTE-Advanced.

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On the other side of the table, Intel has yet to release a 4G LTE-Advanced solution for mobile. Although the company is planning to release its XMM 7260 modem in 2014. Technically Intel is behind in the 4G LTE-A market, but in reality the lack of a solution is not noticed mainstream.

Intel plans to deliver next-generation LTE solutions, including the Intel® XMM™ 7260 in 2014. The Intel XMM 7260 adds LTE Advanced features, such as carrier aggregation, faster speeds and support for both TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA. (Source)

Qualcomm has offered its solution ahead of the rollout of 4G LTE-Advanced, so users will be ready to go when the network begins being upgraded in the new year. Galaxy S4 users will be some of the first mainstream users to enjoy the speed.

Although, 4G LTE-Advanced has not rolled out on a significant scale and is only starting to pop up around the world. In this case, Intel is not actually behind on mobile speeds since the market is not offering the solution on a large scale. It would be easier to conclude that Qualcomm is running a race that has not really started yet.

"Once we get over this little bump here, I think by year end you're going to see us separate ourselves because all our [capital expenditures] will be centered around densification," Shammo said. "And then you'll start to see us talk about things like VOLTE [voice over LTE] and ... LTE-advanced technologies in the next year. We'll be in a great position to dedicate resources to that because we're done [with] coverage."

Just last month, Verizon Wireless's (NYSE:VZ) CFO Fran Shammo stated Verizon's drive to offer LTE-Advanced in the next year (2014).

European operators Vodafone, Telefónica and EE have all started testing LTE-Advanced, and are aiming to offer speeds over 200Mbps. But a lack of devices means commercial services will have to wait.

As previously stated above, Intel cannot be behind on a standard that has not been widely rolled out. By the time the XMM 7260 is released in 2014 it can begin as a solution for mobile phones. EE is expecting mobile phones in the second half of 2014, so if Intel rolls out the XMM 7260 early in 2014 then they can be in the LTE-A game for mobile phones.

The NETGEAR (NASDAQ:NTGR) AirCard 782S Mobile Hotspot is the first mobile broadband device to come to market in Australia that can utilize the 4G Advanced from Telstra.

The 4G LTE-Advanced rollout will not be linked solely to carriers either. 4G LTE-Advanced modems have popped up, as recently as December 4, 2013.

The first device to take advantage of these faster speeds is the CAT6 Huawei router, which can tether with up to twenty phones and tablets each reaching speeds up to 200Mbps. Huawei LTE-A dongles will go on sale to the public by summer 2014, with LTE-A phones to follow in the second half of the year.

It is a good point to realize that 4G LTE-A is rolling out now, and is not some distant futuristic upgrade. In the U.K., EE has released the world's fastest LTE-Advanced network, with download speeds hitting 300 Mbps. On a side note, this network is for businesses and phones will follow in the second portion of the year. On a side note, Intel's XMM 7260 will support download speeds of 300 Mbps, double the Snapdragon 800 - unless Qualcomm releases a new version by the time Intel releases its 7260, Intel will have an edge on speed.

At the end of the day, Qualcomm is first to market a 4G LTE-Advanced solution that certain consumers will enjoy without having to purchase a new device. One such smartphone is Samsung's Galaxy S4. The need for speed will be a huge marketing factor in the second have of 2014, or having a device that will be compatible with the rollout. In conclusion Intel is technically behind with regard to mobile speed solutions, but in reality the standard has not been rolled out on a mainstream yet so they are not really behind. For a more detailed look at Intel and Qualcomm's solutions, check out my other article.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. Always do your own research and contact a financial professional before executing any trades. This article is informational and in my own personal opinion.