The researchers suggest Qualcomm (San Diego, Calif.) owns all the technology pieces and IP necessary to sustain its advantage, and its gross margins and operating margins are second to none in the handset chip market.
"Qualcomm's basebands include more on-chip application processing and more interfaces than most of its competitors' basebands," said Stephen Entwistle, VP of the Strategic Technologies Practice. "We expect Qualcomm to hold its position at the top of the cellular chip market for a long time to come as the company has a very strong strategic IP portfolio in CDMA, W-CDMA, GPS, WLAN, MIMO and OFDM-related technologies."
The study indicates Qualcomm has the broadest portfolio of chips and chipsets for cellular terminals in the industry, including an increasing selection of "universal" basebands and chipsets that support virtually all common air interfaces and bands in the CDMA and GSM families.
As a consequence of its market domination in both CDMA and W-CDMA, leading OEMs such as Nokia and Motorola "have finally accepted the importance of having Qualcomm as a partner, opening the door for even higher W-CDMA market share in the future,"say the researchers.
With the exception of Apple, almost all the major handset manufacturers are now Qualcomm's customers, they add.
However, another analyst at Strategy Analytics, Sravan Kundojjala, who tracks the handset components sector, cautions that despite its strengths, "Qualcomm should now tackle its relatively weak position in the smartphone market, which may be addressed by the company's new SnapDragon processors, multiple Android handset design-wins and its settlement with Nokia."
Analysis: Nokia/Qualcomm and the 'new' wireless landscape