10 April 2020
RF front-end component market to remain flat in 2020
Despite frequent claims by companies and analysts of unbridled growth in RF with 4G and 5G, the market for radio frequency (RF) front-end components remained flat in 2018 and 2019, and will remain flat in 2020, according to the Strategy Analytics RF & Wireless Components report ‘Power Amp and RF Front End Market Share and Forecast Update’, which makes the case that slow smartphone sales, OEMs resistant to higher bills of material, trade tensions and an economic slowdown in China all conspired to halt sales growth in RF front-end components used in mobile phones and other cellular user equipment.
“Market changes in 2018 and 2019 hit Skyworks the hardest, but Qorvo and Broadcom maintained sales of power amplifiers, filters and other front-end modules overall, while Qualcomm picked up some share with 5G design wins,” says report author Christopher Taylor, director of RF & Wireless Components. “At the same time, scores of new entrants, most of them in China, took some share, mainly in lower-end phones,” he adds.
“With COVID-19, the outlook does not look any better for 2020,” notes Stephen Entwistle, VP of strategic technologies. “In addition to the pandemic, RF component suppliers have to continue to improve performance, and develop new products to support higher frequency bands and the higher RF complexity of 5G devices,” he adds. “We remain optimistic that growth will return as 5G mobile devices ramp and production costs of new RF components begin to drop with higher production volumes.”