Innovation and pricing pressures drive 5G base station power amplifier trends

An article written by Cyril Buey and Cédric Malaquin, from Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group, for Microwave Journal – To keep up with the exponential growth of mobile traffic globally, mobile network operators (MNOs) are massively deploying 5G networks. At the same time, they are shutting down their 3G and 2G services to free up the cell site spectrum for 4G and 5G. Globally, 5G is being deployed at two different paces, with China supporting half of the base transceiver station (BTS) market while the rest of Asia, Europe, the U.S. and late 5G entrant India dominate the balance of the market. Figure 1 shows our latest base station forecast by region.

We estimate that 5G comprises more than 70 percent of the investment from the MNOs. MNOs are expected to continue investing massively in 5G in the upcoming years and this will continue to expand the 5G footprint. The first wave of investment mainly focused on 5G Non-Standalone (NSA), involving only new radios, to ensure a fast time to market and a smooth cohabitation with 4G. The second wave is now focusing on the baseband and core networks, where evolution is critical to provide 5G Standalone (SA) that enables new use cases and levers for monetization. There are big expectations for RAN and RF front-end (RFFE) market opportunities in 2023, primarily due to an ambitious launch of 5G networks in India.

The question becomes; will it last over the next few years?

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