RF GaN: telecom infrastructure takes the lead
RF GaN leaders, SEDI, Qorvo, Wolfspeed, NXP, … are paving the way to an almost US$3 billion market by 2028.
- The RF GaN device market was worth US$1.3 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach US$2.7 billion in 2028, with a 12% CAGR between 2022 and 2028.
- SEDI, Qorvo, and Wolfspeed: the top 3 device players are growing steadily, while NXP is generating high revenue from telecom.
- New opportunity in telecom opens the door to RF GaN-on-Si .
In telecom infrastructure, GaN has penetrated various base stations with its high-power and high-frequency performance benefits. With the transition from RRH to AAS in macro/microcells, massive MIMO requires more PA units per base station. The higher PAE and broad-band capability at frequencies above 3GHz compared to LDMOS is an opportunity for GaN to grow. The GaN-based telecom infrastructure device market will represent almost 45% of the total market by 2028.
As a traditional GaN market, the defense segment is one of the main drivers for GaN RF. GaN-on-SiC is still the primary platform supplying demanding applications in defense radar, electronic warfare, and defense communication applications.
In this dynamic context, Yole Intelligence releases its annual RF GaN report. This study provides an overview of the market and the players in the various segments, along with their product ranges and technologies. The company, part of Yole Group, outlines each segment’s market dynamics and main technologies. Analysts also explain the requirements of the various RF markets and their corresponding impact on the need for different technologies, along with geographical specificities.
Aymen Ghorbel, Technology & Market Analyst specializing in Compound Semiconductor and Emerging Materials at Yole Intelligence“As of 2023, GaN-on-SiC is still the primary platform for RF GaN, as the supply chain has been well developed. However, IDM is the preferred business model, as IDMs can benefit from their existing customer channels in the telecom and defense markets.”
In 2022, SEDI, Qorvo, and Wolfspeed were the leading players in the RF GaN device business, while NXP has gained significant growth by entering the telecom market’s supply chain. The S.I. SiC wafer market remains shared by the three major suppliers, Wolfspeed, Coherent, and SICC. In the defense segment, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and Chinese CETC are leading GaN adoption. DoD-trusted Wolfspeed and Qorvo are also GaN foundries. Focusing on the suppliers to the telecom market, Ericsson and Nokia continue developing the supply of RF GaN devices to source from multiple suppliers while Samsung cooperates closely with Korean device players. Since the US sanction, Huawei and ZTE have turned to the Chinese supply chain to develop domestic capability.
Titre du visueljune 2021
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Poshun Chiu, Senior Technology & Market Analyst specializing in Compound Semiconductors and Emerging Substrates at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group“As of 2023, the mainstream GaN technology is on SiC substrate. The technology has matured and demonstrated good performance at high power and frequency. Over the last years, players like STMicroelectronics with MACOM, Ommic, Infineon, and foundries like GlobalFoundries and UMC have been working on introducing RF GaN-on-Si technology. As the telecom small cell requires PAs with lower power, GaN-on-Si can find a sweet spot in 32T32R and 64T64R mMIMO base stations below 10W. We expect to see GaN-on-Si enter the market starting at the end of 2023 and taking market share in the coming years.”
With technology node evolution, device players developing platforms for the Ku/K/Ka bands are even targeting nodes under 0.1µm for sub-Thz frequencies and a potential 6G market in the future. The target of the emerging GaN-on-Si platform for RF applications is a sub-6GHz small cell by leveraging the efficiency and wide bandwidth at a lower power level. However, considering the complexity of changing the design of handset systems, it’s a longer-term target market for GaN-on-Si.
Yole Intelligence’s compound semiconductor and RF electronics teams invite you to follow the technologies, related devices, applications, markets, and players on www.yolegroup.com.
- RF : Radio Frequency
- GaN : Gallium Nitride
- Si : Silicon
- RRH : Remote Radio Head
- AAS : Active Antenna System
- MIMO : Multiple-input Multiple-output
- PA : Power Amplifier
- PAE : Power-Added Efficiency
- LDMOS : Laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor
- SiC : Silicon Carbide
- IDM : Integrated Devices Manufacturer
- S.I. : semi-insulating