4 June 2012

Handset RF device market to grow from $3.8bn to $5bn in 2016

As handset RF front ends (containing gallium arsenide) are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the 4G era, they cost $9-11 for 4G devices, which is twice that for 3G and 6 times that for 2G, according to the ‘Global and China GaAs-based Device Industry Report, 2011-2012’ from Research and Markets. With handset RF systems consisting mainly of transceivers, power amplifiers (PAs), filters and antenna switches, the handset RF market is hence expected to grow from about $3.8bn currently to $5bn in 2016.

Taking the 4G iPad for example, it uses as many as 19 RF front-end components, including seven PAs, one transceiver and two antenna switch modules (ASMs). Of these, three PAs are provided by Avago Technologies (corresponding to three LTE frequency bands); two PAs are supplied by Skyworks Solutions (corresponding to two 3G frequency bands); one PA comes from by TriQuint Semiconductor (containing three separate PA dies and corresponding to four 2G frequency bands); and the remaining PA is in the ASM and is supplied by Japan-based Murata (which also supplies the two ASMs).

Additionally, the 4G iPad is integrated with 802.11/Bluetooth/FM supported by Broadcom’s BCM4330 single-chip device, and its system-in-package (SiP) IC contains a gallium arsenide (GaAs) pHEMT PA provided by Skyworks.

Murata is the world’s largest manufacturer of multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs), the largest producer of communication modules (including Bluetooth and WLAN), the second largest SAW (surface acoustic wave) filter manufacturer, and the largest antenna switch producer. On 1 March, it entered thePA market by completing its acquisition of the PA Division of Renesas. The firm now claims to possess the most complete product line in the handset RF market.

Kopin, VPEC and IQE are the top three GaAs epilayer manufacturers, collectively accounting for over 60% market share, reckons the report. Kopin and VPEC use MOCVD (metal-organic chemical vapor deposition) while IQE uses both MOCVD and MBE (molecular beam epitaxy).

Taiwan’s WIN Semiconductor is the largest GaAs foundry (with Avago as its main customer). Fellow Taiwanese GaAs foundry AWSC's major client is Skyworksm, which has its own GaAs fab capability but outsources some production to provide extra capacity when needed. Anadigics is the smallest GaAs IDM (integrated device manufacturer), and its revenue fell by 29% in 2011.

Once the world's largest PA manufacturer, RF Micro Devices relies heavily on large customers, notes the report. In fiscal 2008, Nokia comprised 59% of its revenue and Motorola 14%. However, in the 3G/smart-phone era, Nokia’s business has fallen sharply, so RFMD has exhibited a slow transition and has seen declining performance, with revenue slipping about 17% in 2011.

Supported by its main customers (the world’s top 10 mobile phone vendors), Skyworks has the most favorable customer distribution, reckons the report. Avago is a rising star and provides services for 3G and 4G devices. Its acquisition of Infineon’s BAW Division in 2008 makes Avago’s market share in BAW (bulk acoustic wave) filter area is as high as 65%, and BAW filters enjoy the highest price among handset RF front-end components, notes the report. Avago and Skyworks may rival each other in the coming years.

Sumitomo Electric Device Innovations Inc (SEDI) is a subsidiary of Japan’s Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd that acts as a manufacturer possessing the complete industry chain, ranging from upstream substrates to downstream ICs. SEDI’s products target base-station PAs.

China-based manufacturer RDA Microelectronics is booming (with revenue growing 51.3% in 2011) by virtue of unbranded phone manufacturing. The firm ranks number. 1 in the market for unbranded cell-phone PAs, Bluetooth, FM tuners and DVB-S tuners (with more than 50% market share for FM tuners and DVB-S tuners).

See related items:

GaAs wafer market to exceed $650m by 2017

Market for RF filters/duplexers, PAs and antenna switches to reach $4.7bn in 2016

Tags: Handset RF device market GaAs GaAs RF market Handset market

Visit: www.researchandmarkets.com

See Latest IssueRSS Feed


This site uses some harmless cookies in order to function click here to view our Cookie and Privacy Policy