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Skyworks touts sellout quarter

System-on-chip electronics for low-cost cellphones are providing an extra push to the GaAs chipmaker's sales, and boosting its confident outlook.

Skyworks Solutions says its order books are full until the end of September, despite slower-than-expected uptake of 3G wireless technology by consumers.

Senior vice-president Liam Griffin told the Kaufman Brothers investor conference on September 3 that the company is also on target to meet its financial goals for the period.

That means that the company is likely to bring in at least $10 million more than the $215 million in revenues it earned in the previous quarter.

Sales of 3G handsets, which can contain more than three GaAs power amplifiers compared to one in their 2G predecessors, are one important factor in Skyworks' strong sales. However, the newer technology has not contributed in exactly the way that Skyworks may have hoped.

“The presumption was that 3G - WCDMA - was going to be quite a bit larger in 2008 than it is actually rolling out,” Griffin said.

However the uptake of mobile phones in countries like China and India is continuing to propel its revenues upwards. Changes to system-on-chip manufacturing in low-cost phones are magnifying the effect that this has on Skyworks' sales.

“When you go through SOC integration there's quite a technology burden on them,” Griffin explained.

“That is where Skyworks has been able to come in with PAs, switches and filters, and actually deliver solutions that have increased in value as you move to SOC.”

In fact, Griffin says that the front-end modules that Skyworks is shipping for low-cost SOC-based handsets bring the company 15 percent more revenue than the discrete components it was selling into similar models a year ago.

With these effects working in Skyworks favor, Griffin was able to put forward a confident investment case for his audience - including a sobering reminder not to underestimate the long-term effect of 3G.

“Even though 270 or 280 million WCDMA devices is a bit off from the market s view a year ago, it s still driving nearly a billion units of power amplifiers.”

“If you extrapolate to 2010 when you get to 1.5 billion phones, half of those being 3G, you can see the market opportunity for us really accelerates.”

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