According to a recent report published by Yole Développement, the RF FE module market is expected to reach US $35.2 billion by 2023. The Yole Group of Companies including KnowMade, System Plus Consulting and Yole, combined their expertise to work on a comprehensive analysis of the RF front-end module industry. They have mixed their knowledge of the RF FE ecosystem, their understanding of the IP landscape and their analysis of the today’s RF technologies to detail the industry evolution and highlight the technology trends.
Yole Group of Companies has created a set of four reports dedicated to the RF FE sector:
The RF FE modules market, along with the WiFi connectivity sector, will show an impressive 14% CAGR between 2017 and 2023. The related IP landscape is dominated by the market leaders. With technology & market, IP, reverse engineering & costing reports in addition to dedicated strategy consulting services, the Yole Group is trying to provide a clear understanding of the RF FE industry with relevant answers to the questions industry leaders have.
The rapid deployment of Chinese companies with significant R&D activities pushes other players to actively expand and protect their inventions and market. Therefore, an IP strategy is critical for maintaining a market leading position in the years to come. KnowMade’s team has thus proposed two dedicated patent landscape analyses: RF Front-End Modules for Cellphones report and RF acoustic wave filters report.
Under a positive evolution, LTE evolution clearly is the first growth wave, according to Cédric Malaquin, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. However, most of the market opportunities in the mid-term will come from 5G NSA radio, which became prevalent in late December 2017. Therefore, the need for dual connectivity implies evolution on RF front end architecture and additional components. Yole’s analysts explain, this growth will come mainly from the significant penetration rate of high-quality BAW filters, which will be required for the ultra-high frequency range defined by 5G NR. Another example is co-existence filters for diversity antenna-sharing with Wi-Fi, since rejection band will be critical.
The LNA market is expected to grow at a 16% CAGR with the implementation of the diversity module, along with integration in power amplifier modules for handsets. The switch market will enjoy the same growth due to the addition of a new RF path with 4x4 MIMO implementation, which will lead to more diversity switch needs. The antenna tuner market is also expected to record significant growth with 4X4 MIMO technology’s penetration. It is worth noting that 4x4 MIMO will be mandatory for 5G. PA will be the sole market to remain almost flat over this period. The High-end LTE PA market growth, especially in high and ultrahigh band, will compensate for the 2G/3G market’s shrinkage (currently, this market is handled by MMMB PA).
According to Dr. Stéphane Elisabeth, Project Manager at System Plus Consulting, 2017 saw an important choice in adopting PAMiDs that distinguished high-end and mid-range smartphones. Today, the distinction between these categories is becoming wider as companies work towards 5G wireless communication protocols. High-end OEMs are seeking new ways to integrate more capabilities into one device, which creates space on printed circuit boards for 5G components in the future.
At the same time, isolation techniques for all FE communication devices are getting better, in a market with high-quality competitors. System Plus Consulting’s analysts conducted a relevant comparative technology study, which focused on 10 flagship smartphones, 40 FE modules as well as other RF components - RF Front-End Module Comparison. The aim of this study was to provide valuable insights and technical data on the technical choices made by the leading smartphones manufacturers and compare integration technologies. Click here to learn more about this study.
Yole, KnowMade and System Plus Consulting, all part of Yole Group of companies will attend the European Microwave Week (September 23-28 - Madrid, Spain). Yole Group will also present its vision of the RF FE module industry during the RF Electronics session at SEMICON Europa (November 13-16 – Munich, Germany).