A local news source Xin Zhi Xun (芯智讯) recently reported that Unisoc, a core affiliate of the Ziguang Group, has launched the communication chip Chuntong (IVY) 2651, which supports the 'BeiDou No. 3 system', a global service of 'China' GPS BeiDou. Chuntong 2651 is a 4-in-1 combo communication chip that supports WiFi 2X2 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), and FM.
BeiDou, China's satellite navigation system, has formulated expansion of its service area from the existing Asia-Pacific region to the whole world on February 27th. "BeiDou-related chips and modules sold more than 70 million units, and the manufacturing process has reached 28 nanometers," said Li Qingqi (冉承其), Chief of the China Satellite Navigation System Administration Department, at the press conference held at the State Council's Newspaper Office.
According to the local media, Unisoc Chuntong 2651 is the world's first communication chip that supports BeiDou No. 3. The five Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) supported by Chuntong 2651 are US GPS, GLONASS of Russia, Europe Galileo, BeiDou, and BeiDou No. 3. It has been announced that BeiDou is divided into existing BeiDou (No. 2) and the next-generation BeiDou No. 3 to support the five GNSSs.
Satellite navigation is implemented as a system with dozens of satellites orbiting the earth. Currently, BeiDou operates 33 satellites in the orbit including 15 BeiDou No. 2 satellites and 18 No. 3 satellites. BeiDou No. 2 is the satellite navigation system of China for the Asia-Pacific region and it had been called Compass or BeiDou without additional description. BeiDou No. 3 is the global satellite navigation system that started its formal service last month. "We launched 19 BeiDou satellites in 2018," Lan said. BeiDou No. 1 refers to the system used at the Qualcomm first supported BeiDou in Samsung Galaxy Note 3 that installed Snapdragon 800 for the Chinese market in 2013. Taiwan MediaTek has been releasing BeiDou support models from the beginning as well. The date when Apple will start supporting BeiDou on the iPhone is one of the concerns of the Chinese IT media and the community.
Unisoc's predecessor is Spreadtrum and RDA. The Ziguang Group bought two fabless companies listed on the Nasdaq and then bundled them together to form Spreadtrum & RDA. Afterward, it renamed it to Unisoc last year. Intel has announced a partnership with Spreadtrum & RDA (now Unisoc) in the field of the next-generation 5G smartphones last February before its name was changed. According to Chinese corporate information company Chis Cha, Intel owns 14.3% stake in Unisoc 's holding company, Beijing Ziguang Zhanrui Technology Co., Ltd.