3G basestation slowdown hits RF power IC market - Embedded.com

3G basestation slowdown hits RF power IC market

LONDON — The market for RF power semiconductor devices will continue to see the erosion in revenues due to the gradual decline of cellular/3G basestation deployments according to new research from ABI Research (Scottsadale, Arizona).

“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 percent over the period 2007—2012,” said Lance Wilson, ABI Research director.

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

However, says ABI, 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 percent 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 percent, illustrating the influence of cellular/3G’s decline.

Some industry observers place their hopes in WiMAX, but Wilson remained 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.”

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