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SEQUANS Communications -- WiMAX Chips
Founded: Sep 2003
Status: Private
Issue(s): 8/04
101-103, Boulevard Mac Donald
75019 Paris,
Tel: +
Fax: +

See more recent 11/05 profile.

SEQUANS Communications was formed in September 2003 to become the leading supplier of silicon and embedded software for WiMAX-based systems. In June 2004, the company secured 1.5M euros in seed round funding from I-source and Cap Decisif. SEQUANS is currently seeking a larger round that is anticipated to close by year-end. The company has 22 employees.

Addressing both base station and subscriber station products, SEQUANS delivers SoCs and software to build the complete PHY (baseband, not the RF front end) and MAC layers. Fully compliant with WiMAX, its PHY and MAC technologies provide advanced features such as FDD&TDD, 64-QAM, Turbo Code, Smart Antenna support, full QoS and an optimized Bandwidth Scheduler. The company has not made a final wafer foundry decision.

The WiMAX market can be broken into two segments: fixed and mobile/nomadic. SEQUANS believes the fixed system opportunity will approach $1 - $2 billion in 2008 (roughly 5Mu CPE) based on Greenfield deployments in undeveloped countries as well as deployments in developed countries by CLECs and in places where wired broadband technologies are not available.

The nomadic opportunity (WiMAX in a notebook PC) could be much larger, approaching 50Mu and a $500M silicon opportunity. The big question is, when? SEQUANS believes the market will take off in 2008, reaching maturity in 2009 or 2010.

WiMAX competitors include Intel and Fujitsu as well as emerging companies such as Wavesat, Beceem and Picochip. WiMAX defines the minimum requirements for compliance, which are very limited and inadequate for indoor or nomadic operation, according to SEQUANS and than optional advanced features. Some silicon vendors only offer the PHY, leaving the MAC and software task to the system vendor.

SEQUANS argues that its system and DOCSIS (which has a similar MAC as WiMAX) expertise provides it with a competitive advantage. SEQUANS will offer an integrated MAC and PHY SoC solution with the lowest cost and power. The company will provide an end-to-end solution comprised of both base station and subscriber station products.

Its products will feature superior RF performance due to advanced signal processing, and full channel speed capacity thanks to optimal hardware software partitioning. The solution will include all features needed for WiMAX certification as well as additional advanced features such as smart antennas (AAS and STC), subchannelization, PHS, ARQ, and turbo codes. The solution will also feature advanced QoS.

SEQUANS plans to ship an FPGA-based platform in October to coincide with the WiMAX plugfest. WiMAX-compliant silicon, based on the IEEE 802.16revD standard (now called 802.16/2004) should begin shipping in mid-2005. The company is currently in advanced discussions with existing 802.16 vendors as well as large newcomers to the WiMAX market.

Dr. Georges Karam, co-founder, President & CEO (most recently VP of Cable Access for Juniper via the acquisition of Pacific Broadband Communications where he served as VP of Engineering and GM Europe)

Bertrand Debray, co-founder & VP of Engineering (previously Dir. of HW and ASIC Development for the cable product at Juniper via the PBC acquisition where he held the same role)

Ambroise Popper, Product Marketing Manager

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