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19 August 2014

GaAs IC market to grow to $8bn in 2017

The gallium arsenide integrated circuit market will grow to $8bn in 2017, according to a new report ‘The GaAs IC Market’ by The Information Network.

The biggest enabler of the mobile data increase and the most important driver of the GaAs RF IC market is the handset segment. Much of the content of a handset is silicon-based, but power amplifiers (PAs) and switches in the front-end of the phone use GaAs devices.

Since every cell phone contains power amplifiers (PA) to enable the handset to transmit voice and data back to the base station tower (to route a call to another phone or Internet address), power amplifiers are the most critical radio frequency component in the phone, and are currently dominated by circuits made with GaAs.

3G handsets often contain up to five PAs, and GaAs makes up 100% of the market, which is close to $5bn. In addition, the number of PAs per handset is growing because of: complex 3G systems, global roaming support, and data roaming support. Pricing for PAs has risen from $0.80 per handset to $2.90 currently and is projected to exceed $3.50 after long-term evolution (LTE) and advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum emerge in advanced handsets in the marketplace.

While industrialized countries are using 3G networks, there is currently a mixture of 2/2.5G and 3G networks globally, and the majority of subscribers are actually on 2G-based networks — and are predicted to remain so for a number of years.

2G handsets contain one PA, so it represents a sizable market. But because they are not as technologically advanced as 3G cell phones (particularly smartphones), silicon is making inroads into the GaAs domain. In 2013, only 90% of PAs were made in GaAs, 5% in silicon CMOS, and 5% in silicon LDMOS, reckons the report. Nevertheless, Between 70% to 80% of Skyworks’ and RF Micro Device’s GaAs businesses is in PA.

Tags: GaAs PAs GaAs

Visit: www.theinformationnet.com

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