With the gradual decline of cellular/3G base station deployments, the market for RF power semiconductor devices will continue to see the erosion in revenues for that segment that has characterized recent years. Declining average selling prices, more efficient air interfaces, and the build-out of the infrastructure base are compounded, in their effect on revenues, by the shift to plastic packaging.
“The market opportunity for cellular/3G base station RF power semiconductor devices will continue to shrink over the next five years,” comments ABI Research director Lance Wilson. “Wireless infrastructure represents the largest segment for RF power semiconductors, and it contains the largest sub-segment: cellular/3G. This sub-segment will decline by a compound annual rate of 8% over the period 2007-2012.”
However, the RF power semiconductor device market below 4 GHz also consists of five other major segments – military, ISM (industrial/scientific/medical), broadcast, commercial avionics, and non-cellular communications – and these will show a healthy compound annual growth rate of 9.5% over the same period, with the military and ISM segments leading the pack. Overall, the entire marketplace will exhibit a five-year growth rate of only 2.9%, illustrating the influence of cellular/3G’s decline.
Some industry observers place their hopes in WiMAX, but Wilson remains cautious: “Although fixed WiMAX is deploying, mobile WiMAX (802.16e) remains an uncertain prospect from the high-power RF device standpoint. The potential does exist, but its realization is by no means a sure thing.”
An ABI Research study of this market, RF Power Semiconductor Devices, offers five-year, detailed forecasts for all major market segments and sub-segments, along with market share data for major industry vendors and technologies. It forms part of two ABI Research Services: RF Power Devices and Wireless Semiconductors.
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