Analysis firm Research and Markets has published an in-depth report regarding the radiofrequency (RF) semiconductor sector. The firm pegged the industry’s worth this year at $17.4 billion. However, the organization predicts the RF semiconductor market will reach a staggering $26.2 billion in value by 2025.
5G Drives Growth in RF Semiconductor Sector
Research and Markets attributes the RF components sector’s growth to a few key factors. One is the increasing global proliferation of fourth-generation mobile data networks and the deployment of fifth-generation telecommunications technology. Notably, LTE and 5G networks can transfer information at the same rate as fixed broadband connections.
As such, telecoms need high-capacity RF semiconductors to build next-generation base stations that can handle high bandwidth data transfers.
At present, wireless carriers based in China, Japan, and South Korea are in the process of establishing LTE and 5G networks. Indeed, the Sino region is currently home to the world’s largest fifth-generation mobile data network. As the rollout of those communication technologies continues, so too will the demand for RF components.
Similarly, Research and Markets notes the greater availability of LTE and 5G bandwidth in the Asian-Pacific region is driving sales of next-generation handsets. Since smartphones require high-bandwidth components to connect to high-speed mobile networks, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are also driving the RF semiconductor market.
The analysis firm’s forecast regarding the sector is supported by recent partnerships and acquisitions within the semiconductor industry.
Earlier this week, Marvell and Analog Devices partnered to produce next-generation RF devices. Last month Apple RF component supplier Qorvo acquired Decawave to gain access to its millimeter wave technology. Similarly, Qualcomm spent $3.1 billion to buy TDK out of its RF front-end chip co-venture RF360 Holdings last September. That same month, the chipmaker announced plans to release a range of 5G handset chipsets to meet anticipated global demand.
Research and Markets also predicts automakers will increase their purchases of RF components to facilitate the development of new smart cars.
A Particular Area of Interest
The analyst group offered one particular insight that should be of interest to RF semiconductor makers.
The firm noted that RF components made from gallium nitride (GaN) have the highest individual growth through 2025. The organization explained that because of their composition, GaN devices have high power density, high-frequency operation, and robust thermal conductivity. Accordingly, GaN semiconductors are 10 to 15 percent more efficient than those made from LDMOS/silicon.
Research and Markets believe GaN components will become increasingly popular in the construction of 5G base stations because of their unique attributes.
The analysis organization also noted the biggest obstacle to the growth of the booming RF component sector is material cost. Therefore, semiconductor manufacturers looking to take advantage of the growth of the radiofrequency industry should invest in GaN fabrication. After all, cost-conscious wireless corporations will want to invest in reliable, high capacity gear when establishing their next-generation mobile data networks.