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Skyworks targets ultra-low-cost handset sector

While many focus on high-end cellular applications, Skyworks Solutions brings out a pair of GaAs-based front-end modules designed for emerging cellular markets.

Skyworks Solutions has launched two dual-band cellular front-end modules designed specifically for deployment in emerging markets where cellular applications have yet to take root.

Handset vendors such as Nokia and Motorola have plans to sell very cheap cell-phones into these markets, with a target price of around $30-$40.

The Skyworks modules, which feature two HBT blocks fabricated on a single GaAs die and also support GaAs PHEMT switches, will be sampled in June and cost $2.50 in large quantities. Volume production is slated for the end of the year.

According to the market analyst company ABI Research, around 80% of the world's population, or more than 5 billion people, live within range of a cellular network. While upwards of 2 billion of those people have subscribed to a mobile service, that still leaves a huge untapped number of potential subscribers.

Nokia and Motorola believe that they can expand the market for their phones by as many as 3 billion customers, but only if the phones can be made cheaply enough.

Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila expects not only that the global mobile subscriber base will increase to 3 billion by 2008, but that around 80% of that growth will come from emerging markets.

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