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Summary

Qualcomm will strengthen its position in the wireline broadband and connected home space with its acquisition of Ikanos. This follows Intel’s acquisition of Lantiq earlier this year. The wireline broadband market is strong and will remain so in part due to the focus on quad-play services by wireless operators.

Even with Atheros, Qualcomm needed more presence in the home

Qualcomm acquired Atheros in 2011, buying its way into the beyond-cellular mobile communications silicon chip business. Atheros was regarded as one of the leaders in communication chips for wireless LAN, Bluetooth, and GPS. This acquisition enabled Qualcomm to expand into the enterprise, home, and non-cellular service provider networks. However, it did not provide the resulting Qualcomm Atheros division with technologies to secure a stronghold in the home gateway market.

The home gateway is the entry point for communication services for the home, serving as the control center, managing traditional voice, data, and video along with smart home and connected home applications. The importance of the home gateway market is gaining momentum because it provides additional revenue streams for service providers, whether traditional telcos such as AT&T and Vodafone or for Internet content providers such as Google.

We have seen several acquisitions over the past several years as players seek home gateway technologies and platforms. Earlier this year Intel acquired German home networking supplier Lantiq, bringing in wireline broadband chips and software. In 2014 Samsung acquired SmartThings, providing a single-hub technology for smart applications and devices.

In June this year, Ikanos launched its Fusion Smart Home Control software platform, supporting smart home devices and home automation applications, extending its products beyond wireline broadband xDSL chipsets. With financial support from Alcatel-Lucent, Ikanos has been developing G.fast chips that extend copper-based bandwidth.

We are looking at a win-win – financially troubled Ikanos could not survive alone, and Qualcomm Atheros needed to strengthen its home gateway capabilities for the oncoming wave of smart and connected home applications.

Appendix

Further reading

“G.fast: Gaining Mindshare,” TE0006-001091 (July 2015)

“Intel buys into the connected home with Lantiq acquisition,” TE0017-000027 (February 2015)

Smart Home: The Broadband Service Provider Opportunity, TE0003-000801 (November 2014)

“BBWF 2014 provides a glimpse into well-positioned access and connected home vendors,” TE0017-000021 (October 2014)

“Connected home: Samsung buys SmartThings,” TE0001-000873 (August 2014)

“Google heats up the smart home market with Nest acquisition,” IT002-000295 (January 2014)

Author

Julie Kunstler, Principal Analyst, Components and Intelligent Networks

julie.kunstler@ovum.com 

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