RF Power Amplifier Markets Improve

Updated ABI Research forecasts for the global RF power amplifier market indicate that while the total available market for these essential cellular base-station equipment items is still shrinking, the decline is not as severe as had been feared. A new ABI Research report on this market also points to two other significant factors that have changed the market landscape in the past 15 months: the entry of Chinese vendors, and the growing use of high-efficiency amplifier designs.

“The RF power amplifier market for this segment is still showing a downward trend,” says research director Lance Wilson, “but the good news is that the descent is not as precipitous as originally thought. Though basic GSM is slowly declining, EDGE has satisfied the data needs of many users to a greater extent than anticipated. At the same time, many operators are becoming more wary of big 3G-related spending. The result is that such GSM-based systems have enjoyed a longer life-cycle, which in turn stretches out the growth period for 3G. That has a direct impact on what happens in the power amplifier and devices market.”

Meanwhile Chinese vendors, led by Huawei Technologies and ZTE, have become more active in the RF power amplifier market, and are starting to have an effect on the device market. “This is both an opportunity and a threat,” says Wilson “The Chinese position in the RF power amplifier and device market is not insignificant. Growing Chinese participation is an addition to the markets, but at the same time it represents competition for incumbent vendors.”

Much of the Chinese output is directed at the domestic market, where it will reduce earlier demand for equipment sourced from elsewhere. The start of TD-SCDMA network deployment in China will also contribute to overall market size.

Finally, high-efficiency RF amplifiers for wireless infrastructure are starting to enter the mainstream, and will be seen in increasing quantities over the next five years. Greater amplifier efficiency means lower base station costs, in both initial price, and in lower power consumption and operating cost.

The new ABI Research study “RF Power Amplifiers: Equipment and RF Power Device Analysis for Cellular and Mobile Wireless Infrastructure Markets” examines amplifier cost, size, reliability and efficiency, illuminates the interdependent relationship of RF power semiconductors to RF power amplifiers, and presents quantitative market forecasts through 2012 for both segments.

It forms part of three ABI Research Services: RF Power Devices, Wireless Handset Semiconductors , and Wireless Infrastructure.

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