Neeraj Sharma, Country Head (India), Spreadtrum Communications on India Strategy & Chipset Innovation

Neeraj Sharma

“We are partnering with leading mobile brands to enable better access to the latest mobile technologies to consumers across the globe”

Shanghai headquartered Spreadtrum Communications is now a leading supplier of mobile chips in the Indian market and has witnessed impressive growth in terms of volume and reputation here in the last couple of years. Leading the charge from the front in India has been Neeraj Sharma, Country Head (India), Spreadtrum Communications who has scripted impressive success for the company in a highly competitive market. Under him, Spreadtrum has gone beyond as a supplier of chipsets to becoming a facilitator and collaborator of OEMs in designing and developing new gen mobile handsets. In an interaction with Shelley Vishwajeet, Mr Sharma dwells deep into Spreadtrum’s offerings, strategy and future road map.

How would you rate and analyze the overall performance of Spreadtrum in the Indian market? Could you talk about some important developments/ achievements in the last few months?

2017 has been an incredible year for Spreadtrum. The year started on a high note with the launch of our dual camera chipsets, SC9853 and SC9850 which are game changers in dual selfie camera domain. Various mobile phones brands are launching affordable dual camera phones based on these chipsets and are taking high-end technology to mainstream.

The advent of 4G brought a paradigm shift in 2017 in the telecom domain. We would like to proudly call ourselves as the 4G enabler for Indian mobile brands and consumers. Spreadtrum launched several 4G-enabled chipsets in India at extremely competitive prices to achieve this aim and are driving the adoption of 4G-led services in the country. The launch of Reliance Jio Phone, the 4G feature phone powered by Spreadtrum SoC marked as an important development in the year gone by.

Another milestone worth mentioning is Micormax Bharat 2. The smartphone based on Spreadtrum chipset, SC9832 successfully sold more than half a million units in just 50 days of its launch. Samsung J2 and J3 series, based on Spreadtrum chipsets were named as among the top 5 smartphones in 2017.

Spreadtrum’s global footage and reputation as a competent chip-maker has been growing but it remains largely preferred for feature phones. Against this backdrop what are your plans to capture more of smartphone market?

Spreadtrum already has a diverse product catalogue which not only caters to entry level smartphones and feature phones, but also provides turnkey solutions to high-end devices and has cutting-edge technological capabilities extending to quad-core smartphones.

The recently launched LEA GOO T5c based on Spreadtrum SC9853I is targeted to gen next smartphone audience and comes with a strong core and enhanced camera processing capabilities. Lenovo K320t with Spreadtrum SC9850 is one of the most affordable dual camera smartphone and is integrated with interesting features like fingerprint scanner, light sensor and proximity sensor.

To diversify our product portfolio further, we are integrating advanced features like eMBMS, VoWiFi, Carrier Aggregation and Dual Camera in our chipsets. We are additionally partnering with leading mobile brands to enable better access to the latest mobile technologies to consumers across the globe.

We have also set up one of a kind hardware lab and are providing end-to-end support from creating a reference design to development, to testing, and debugging – to our partners and thus helping them with a faster go-to-market time.

How has been the response to Spreadtrum’s much talked about SC98530 and SC9853i chipset?

Both SC98530 and SC9853I chipsets have received an incredible response from brands across the globe. Built on Intel’s 14nm foundry platform, Spreadtrum SC9853I is targeting the global mid and high-level smartphone market. It features 1.8GHz Octa-core 64-bit Intel Airmont architecture based processor, which enables SC9853I to offer a high performance mobile computing ability coupled with ultra-low power. LEA GOO T5c is the first phone to be launched globally based on SC9853I.

Designed for overall entry and mid-level markets globally, SC9850 – the powerful Quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 application processor is being used by a lot of global brands who intend to offer superior quality as low price point.

Intex newly launched phone, Elyt Dual, the most affordable dual camera smartphone is based on SC98530 and comes with a lot of promising features. Also we would be seeing a number of brands launching their phone models based on SC9850 and SC9853I in Q2 and Q3 of 2018.

“We have also set up one of a kind hardware lab and are providing end-to-end support from creating a reference design to development, to testing, and debugging – to our partners and thus helping them with a faster go-to-market time”

Apart from providing chipsets for mobile, are there other devices you are looking at to open up new sales avenues?

Mobile chipsets have always been Spreadtrum’s forte. In addition to mobile chipsets, we also have SoC’s catering to IoT, digital payments, security, automotive, wearables, etc. Our aim is to facilitate the creation of a more interconnected world by promoting the ease of communication.

In fact, we have recently launched the world’s first Shared Wi-Fi Translator in collaboration with Baidu. Spreadtrum also has its technology in a lot of innovative products, including 360 Rider GPS Locator, Automatic Vending Machine, In Vehicle Infotainment, A.I. Children Smart Watch, Bike Sharing Platform, to name a few.

“In addition to mobile chipsets, we also have SoC’s catering to IoT, digital payments, security, automotive, wearables, etc. Our aim is to facilitate the creation of a more interconnected world by promoting the ease of communication”

Spreadtrum Logo

Do you also collaborate or assist a mobile manufacturer in helping them overall design better offerings? Or you only confine yourself to only providing chip solutions?

At Spreadtrum, we provide turnkey solutions which means collaborating with mobile brands at every step and not only just only providing chip solutions.

For the same reason, we have set up a one-of-its-kind hardware lab with an OTA chamber at Spreadtrum’s Research & Development Center in Noida. This is the very first in India and offers turnkey solutions to Indian mobile brands to help them design, develop, test and debug with a reduced time to market.In fact, we have been working with lot of mobile brands, including Samsung on various R&D and manufacturing projects, providing end-to end solutions.

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