- The increasing adoption of RF GaN in electric automotive is also one of the major factors driving demand in this market. Silicon carbide devices are already in use in the onboard battery chargers of electric buses, taxis, lorries, and passenger cars.
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Additionally, increasing government regulations in favor of the electric vehicles market globally are further stimulating demand in the RF GaN market.
- For instance, in India, the NITI Aayog Action Plan for Clean Transportation, which was released in 2018, recommended eliminating all permit requirements for EVS, in order to encourage electric mobility. Moreover, according to the International Energy Agency, almost 1.5 million battery electric vehicles were sold worldwide in 2018. These facts indicate that the growth of electric vehicles is expected to boost the adoption of RF GaN over the forecast period.
- Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and other sensing technologies require low latency for various applications like mission-critical end-use applications. This is expected to further drive the demand for RF GaN devices.
- Some of the prominent players in the industry through strategic partnerships, research & developments, and mergers & acquisitions, have been able to further the technology, hence, fueling market growth over the forecast period. For instance, in February 2019, MACOM Technology Solutions Holdings Inc. and STMicroelectronics announced expansion of the 150mm GaN-on-Silicon production capacity in ST’s fabs, and 200mm, as per the demand. The expansion is designed to service the worldwide 5G telecom buildout.
- The increasing implementation of IoT devices will result in signal congestion and will demand the use of GaNtechnology that can amplify power, capacity, and the bandwidth required for communicating with all interconnected devices. 5G technology is expected to unleash a massive IoT ecosystem that would increase the user base manifold and will increase the demand for these semiconductors as the network operators have to serve billions of connected devices.
Key Market Trends
Strong Demand from Telecom Infrastructure Segment Driven by Advancements in 5G Implementation
- Owing to the ability to provide higher frequency data bandwidth connections, GaN RF technology is becoming the ideal choice for network service providers. These devices help in ensuring that the device generates maximum frequency at the necessary band and also prevents any interference from other frequency bands.
- The deployment of GaN RF power devices will enable advance mobile devices to offer speeds that will allow consumers to upload and download high-quality content, such as music and photographs and also play online games and watch online TV shows on maximum frequency bands, which is expected to lead to a rise in their adoption rates.
- Moreover, companies are investing in the development of 5G core services and architecture. For instance, ZTE Corporation, in January 2019, completed the IMT-2020 third phase of 5G test for core network performance stability and security function, thoroughly verifying the maturity of ZTE’s 5G core network.
- Majority of the carriers were expected to roll out 5G in the latter half of 2019, and most of the deployment is expected to take place in urban areas. There were around 2.1 billion VoLTE subscriptions, according to the Ericsson Mobility report November 2019. By 2025, these subscriptions are expected to reach 6.4 billion, accounting for over 85% of combined LTE and 5G subscriptions.?
- China granted commercial licenses to four state-owned telecom giants (China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Radio and Television) in June 2019 to start rolling out 5G services, indicating Beijing’s determination to be the global leader in setting up superfast wireless networks amid tensions with the United States over technology and trade.
Asia-Pacific is Expected to Experience Significant Growth
- The Asia-Pacific region’s discrete semiconductor industry is driven by China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, which together constitute around 65% of the global discrete semiconductor market, while others, like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, also contribute significantly to the region’s dominance in the market.
- According to the Indian Electronics and Semiconductor Association, the country’s semiconductor component market is expected to be worth USD 32.35 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 10.1% (2018-2025). The country is a lucrative destination for global R&D centers. Thus, the Indian government’s ongoing Make In India initiative is expected to result in huge investments in the semiconductor market.?
- Over the last few years, the radio frequency (RF) industry has received a boost from the implementation of GaNtechnology. GaN is the main driver in telecom and defense applications. WAVEPIA, a South Korean fabless RF GaNcompany, offers cutting-edge GaN systems for RF energy, along with GaN transistors that support the growing telecom and defense markets.
- The increasing focus on investments to develop infrastructure, in order to support 5G technology, is expected to surge the demand for RF semiconductors across the APAC region. For instance, according to GSMA, mobile operators in the Asia-Pacific region are expected to invest over USD 400 billion in their networks, between 2020 and 2025, of which USD 331 billion will be spent on 5G deployments.
The competetive rivalry among the players in the RF GaN market is high owing to the presence of some key players such as Raytheon Technologies, STM microelectronics, amongst others. Their ability to continually innovate their offerings has allowed them to gain competitive advantage other players. Through research & development, strategic partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions these players have been able to gain a strong foothold in the maret.
- July 2020 - Mitsubishi Electric Corporation developed a new technology to realize a gallium nitride (GaN) power amplifier module for 5G base-stations that offers a combination of compact (6mm by 10mm) footprint and extra-high power-efficiency, the latter exceeding an unprecedented rating of 43%. The module, which uses a minimum number of chip components in the matching circuit to control high-quality signal output, is expected to help realize 5G base-stations that are widely deployable and highly power efficient.
- March 2020 - STMicroelectronics NV announced an agreement to acquire a majority stake in French Gallium Nitride (GaN) innovator Exagan. Exagan’s expertise in epitaxy, product development and application know-how will broaden and accelerate ST’s power GaN roadmap and business for automotive, industrial and consumer applications. Exagan will continue to execute its product roadmap and be supported by ST to deploy its products.
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