Bengaluru-based fab-less semiconductor company, Signalchip, unveiled India’s first semiconductor chips for 4G/LTE and 5G NR modems in the presence of Telecom Secretary Ms. Aruna Sundararajan. The SCBM34XX and SCRF34XX/45XX series of chips, code-named ‘Agumbe’, are the result of over eight years of relentless and deep R&D by Signalchip engineers. These chips put India into an elite group of countries that own this widely used fundamental technology.
At the event, Signalchip unveiled four chips:
1. SCBM3412: a single chip 4G/LTE modem including the baseband and transceiver sections in a single device
2. SCBM3404: a single chip 4X4 LTE baseband modem
3. SCRF3402: a 2X2 transceiver for LTE
4. SCRF4502: a 2X2 transceiver for 5G NR standards
The RF sections cover all LTE/5G-NR bands upto 6GHz. These chips also support positioning using India’s own satellite navigation system, NAVIC. The Agumbe series builds up on SCRF1401: India’s first RF transceiver chip for high-performance wireless standards like 3G/4G and WiFi, created by Signalchip in 2015.
The combined multi-standard system-on-chip (SoC) can serve as a base station chipset for a wide range of form factors from low-cost indoor small cells to high performance base stations. These are optimally designed to support evolving network architectures like Open RAN/CRAN with flexible interface configurations. Through the IPs created for this device, the company now has the potential to design products for multiple related fields and is currently forging ahead with additional chipsets for advanced 5G NR features. With India having more than 1.1 billion mobile phones in use, one of the highest in the world, Signalchip has created high performance and cost-efficient systems to enable densification of the network.
Unveiling the chips, Telecom Secretary Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, said, “This is a proud moment for India’s Digital Communications industry. I congratulate the Signalchip team for designing India’s first indigenous semiconductor chips for 4G/LTE and 5G NR modems. India aspires to take a leadership role in developing inclusive 5G technologies for economic self-sufficiency and strategic needs of the country. These chips are a significant step in this direction as they have the potential to cater to the growing digital connectivity needs of the next 5 billion users, by enabling high performance mobile networks at lower cost.” She added, “The Signalchip team’s persistence over the 8-year R&D period and the commitment shown by Sridhar Vembu to believe in this vision is indeed commendable.”
At the launch, Himamshu Khasnis, Founder and CEO of Signalchip said, “Currently in India, all devices and infrastructure, whether imported or domestically manufactured, use imported silicon chips. Silicon chip design is a very challenging activity requiring high-cost R&D, deep knowhow and mastery of multiple complex domains. Hence, this technology is not available in most countries. Given that wireless communication is central to almost all economic, strategic and domestic activities happening today, the ability to indigenously design and develop silicon chips is vital for the security and prosperity of our country.”
This team was mentored and funded by Sridhar Vembu, Founder and CEO of Zoho – a pioneer in cloud technology. Sridhar’s association with Signalchip was born out of a common vision to build an enterprise that develops world-class technology from India and caters to the world. The company was also guided by an elite set of professors at IIT Madras in the field of complex analog/RF design.
Sridhar Vembu, Founder & CEO of Zoho said, “India has always had the talent required to build any technology. We just need to be patient and have enough capital to put it all together. It’s a long-term commitment. Through smart planning and relentless efforts, Signalchip has acquired the capability required to create any complex and globally competitive silicon chip, indigenously from India. I truly appreciate the patience and diligence the Signalchip team has shown to build this chip. Only long-term R&D can make Indian companies globally competitive.”