GaAs Expected to Lose Market Share to GaN and SiGe in the Telecom and Infrastructure Market

GaAs Expected to Lose Market Share to GaN and SiGe in the Telecom and Infrastructure Market712370

Yole Développement (Yole) has released its “Compound Semiconductors Quarterly Market Monitor” of Q2 2021. In the report, Yole’s Team Lead Analyst, Ezgi Dogmus, PhD. forecasts GaN power device revenue to grow from less than US$50 million in 2020 to more than US$1 billion in 2026. According to Yole, the RF GaN market can also expect significant growth from US $891 million to more than US $2.5 billion in the same time-frame. She also wrote that the RF GaAs bare die market is set to nudge US$4 billion by 2026.

But as new entrants jostle for attention in the power GaN market and additional capacity is rolled out for the RF GaN sector, the question arises if the tried-and-tested RF GaAs segment can hold onto its ample market lead.

Following a dip in quarterly revenue growth from 2019 to 2020, revenues have been steadily rising from Q2 2020 with many industry players making the most of the market revival.

As early as 2018, Ireland-based GaN semiconductor developer, Navitas Semiconductor was using GaN ICs in its GaNFast smartphone fast chargers and since the end of 2020, many more industry players have followed this lead. For its part, Navitas recently joined forces with Live Oak Acquisition Corp, US, to go public in a SPAC deal valued at $1.04 billion.

Ahmed Ben Slimane, PhD. Technology & Market Analyst from Yole said that this critical industry development follows in the footsteps of US-based business, Transphorm, which went public in 2020. He added that now Navitas is ramping fast GaN charger shipments to the likes of Dell, Lenovo, LG and Xiaomi and more.

The company also intends to extend its portfolio from fast chargers to datacoms, telecoms, e-mobility, industrial, energy and other applications, signaling strong market confidence. In another positive move, US-based power IC business, Power Integrations, recently released the MinE-CAP IC for high power density AC-DC converters, adopted in the new Anker Nano II fast charger model. Targeting compact chargers and adapters, the IC shrinks the volume of AC-DC converters by up to 40%, raises efficiency, and importantly, increases the dollar content of GaN in devices, factors that can only help to raise Power Integration’s GaN market share…

The Growth For RF GaN

As the RF GaN market continues to gather momentum, 5G telecoms and infrastructure remains a key driver for this market with high power, high bandwidth GaN components having penetrated base stations, remote radio heads and MIMO active antenna systems. Indeed, Yole estimates this market segment to exceed US$1billion by 2026, representing 42% of the entire market.

At the same time, the defense sector also continues to drive growth with applications expected to represent up to 48% of the entire market by 2026. GaN is being more widely used in lightweight transmit/receive modules for AESA radar airborne systems and is also deployed in fixed satellite communications. Emerging applications include handsets and mobile satellite communications.

Difficult GaN qualifications may hinder the technology’s adoption in satellite communications, but this could change. For example, the European Space Agency is currently working with partners such as Airbus to develop GaN power amplifiers for antennas and projects such as this will promote the adoption of GaN in space applications.

Still, the billion-dollar question that remains for many in the RF GaN market is when will the technology truly find its way into consumer mobile handsets?

Poshun Chiu, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole said that two years ago STMicroelectronics revealed it was working on GaN-on-silicon-based power amplifiers for handsets, and now a further major industry player has expressed similar interests. He also said that given these market movements, Yole expects to see GaN power amplifiers being adopted in mobile and consumer applications from 2022.

Technology Choices

Selsabil Sejil, PhD. Technology & Market Analyst, part of the Compound Semiconductor & Emerging substrates team at Yole said that GaN-on-SiC has always been the leading light in the RF GaN industry, having launched more than 20 years ago and now rivalling LDMOS and GaAs in RF power applications. She also said that their figures indicate GaN-on-SiC will grow from US$886 million in 2020 to US$2.2 billion in 2026, with a 17% CAGR.

RF GaAs Holds On

Despite facing competition to GaN and SiGe in high power and high frequency applications, such as telecom and infrastructure, RF GaAs currently still holds the largest market share by quite a margin – and this figure is set to grow.

With the launch of Apple’s iPhone 12 handsets to support 5G in 2020, the demand for GaAs is on the rise again, with the industry’s tried-and-tested compound semiconductor being a key building block in power amplifiers for the sub-6GHz band. Along with the factor in the launch of WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E, handset connectivity from smartphone manufacturers keeps driving the demands of RF GaAs. Yole predicts RF GaAs market share will edge towards a mighty $4 billion from now until 2023. However, in telecom and infrastructure, GaAs is predicted to lose some of this market share to competing technologies such as GaN and SiGe.

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Publisher: everything RF
Tags:-  GaNRadarLDMOSSatelliteGaAs5GWi-Fi 6SiCWi-Fi 6E