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What New Opportunities Does 5G Bring To The Semiconductor Market?(5)

- Jan 07, 2019 -

RF front-end: 5G era is welcoming rapid growth

The RFF (RadioFrequencyFrontEnd) module is the core component of the mobile terminal communication system. Low power consumption, high performance, and low cost are the main drivers of its technology upgrades.

The radio frequency devices in the mobile terminal mainly include a power amplifier (PA, PowerAmplifier), a duplexer (Duplexer), a radio frequency switch (Switch), a filter (Filter), a low noise amplifier (LNA, Low Noise Amplifier) and the like.

In the 5G era, the amount of RF front-end components will increase rapidly, and the complexity of the system will also increase.

The value of the RF front-end is increasing from 2G to 4G. The average cost in the 4G era (full-band) is about $10, and the 4.5G is about $18. It is expected that 5G will exceed $50.

Yole data shows that the mobile phone RF front-end market in 2017 is 15 billion US dollars, and is expected to reach 35.2 billion US dollars in 2023, and CAGR = 14% in 2017-2023.

The filter market is the largest. About $8 billion in 2017, it is expected to reach $22.5 billion in 2023, and CAGR=19% in 2017-2023, mainly due to the increased demand for BAW (BulkAcoustic Wave) filters in high frequency communications.

The power amplifier market is in the second place. It will reach $5 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $7 billion in 2023 and CAGR=7% in 2017-2023. The high-end LTEPA market will continue to grow, especially in the high-frequency and ultra-high frequency bands, but the 2G/3GPA market will decline.

The scale of the RF switch market ranks third. The switch in 2017 is $1 billion, and is expected to reach $3 billion in 2023 and CAGR = 15% from 2017 to 2023.

The 2017 low noise amplifier market size is 246 million US dollars, is expected to reach 602 million US dollars in 2023, CAGR = 16% from 2017 to 2023. Mainly the use of a variety of RF front-end modules and their integration with PA modules in mobile phones.

The 2017 antenna tuner market size is 463 million US dollars, is expected to reach 1 billion US dollars in 2023, CAGR = 15% from 2017 to 2023. Mainly benefit from the penetration of 4×4 MIMO technology. The market size of the millimeter-wave front-end module is expected to reach $423 million in 2023.


At present, RF switches and antenna tuners mainly use RF-SOI technology. The filter and duplex are mainly SAW/BAW.

PA can use CMOS, GaAs, RF-SOI technology. Low noise amplifiers can use GaAs, RF-SOI technology.

In the 5G era, the materials and technologies of the RF components in the Sub-6GHz and millimeter wave stages may change. SOI has the potential to become an important technology with the potential to make a variety of components, while the subsequent benefits are conducive to integration.


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