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GaN RF Devices Market: Applications, Players, Technology, and Substrates 2016 - 2022

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GaN RF devices market will double over the next five years, led by GaN’s adoption across various market segments.

The GaN RF market enjoyed a healthy increase in 2015

2015 was a significant year for the GaN RF industry, with a dramatic increase in wireless infrastructure market sales driven by the massive adoption of LTE networks in China. By year’s end, the total RF GaN market was close to $300M. 

Sales will likely not soar as high over the next two years, but growth will continue, mainly driven by increased adoption of GaN technology in the wireless infrastructure and defense markets. A significant boost will occur around 2019 – 2020, led by the implementation of 5G networks. Market size will be multiplied by 2.5 by the end of 2022, posting a CAGR of 14% from 2016 - 2022.

This report describes GaN’s presence and development scheme in different markets, including wireless infrastructure, defense and aerospace, satellite communication, wired broadband (CATV and FTTH), and other ISM band applications, and offers a complete analysis covering different emerging GaN players (i.e. Sumitomo Electric, Wolfspeed, Qorvo, M-A/COM, Microsemi, UMS, NXP, Ampleon, RFHIC, Mitsubishi Electric, Northrop Grumman, and Anadigics) and more than 600 GaN devices developed and implemented in such applications as radar, base transceiver station, CATV, VSAT, and jammers. This report also includes a detailed analysis of these companies and their products across different applications.

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The wireless infrastructure and defense markets offer great opportunities for GaN

Wireless infrastructure, having surpassed defense and now representing more than half of GaN’s total market, will continue growing fast at an expected 16% CAGR for 2016 – 2022. Though GaN was originally developed to support governmental military and space projects, we’ll soon be able to say that mainstream commercial markets have fully embraced this novel technology.

GaN’s increased implementation in base stations and wireless backhaul stems from the growing demand for data traffic and higher operating frequencies and bandwidths. In future network designs, new technologies like carrier aggregation and massive MIMO will actually put GaN in a superior position compared to existing LDMOS. GaN products have not yet covered the wireless infrastructure market’s full spectrum, and we see more opportunities in the higher-frequency range.

When looking at different players’ products, most GaN players offer similar products for base station applications ranging from 800MHz - 3.5 GHz. The competition will no doubt grow fiercer, and the cake, even if it’s a fast-growing one, will not be divided equally for everyone. In 2016, new entrants like Infineon and possibly another LDMOS player will bring more uncertainty.

In the meantime, defense remains another important market for GaN, and more and more new products and designs are benefiting from GaN’s superior performance and design simplification. We predict a steadily-growing penetration rate for GaN in defense market applications like IED jammers, military communications, radar, electronic warfare, and more.

We invite you to read our report and discover more details about the wireless infrastructure and defense markets, as well as other applicative markets like CATV and satellite communication.

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Two existing technologies will make peace and then go their separate ways: GaN-on-SiC and GaN-on-Silicon’s current position and future market trend

In terms of GaN transistor types, GaN-on-SiC is present in more than 95% of total commercial devices using GaN. GaN-on-SiC’s maturity has led it to dominate GaN-on-Silicon at present, and most GaN RF implementations are realized with GaN-on-SiC devices.
GaN-on-SiC is an appealing choice for markets that require higher performance and are less cost-sensitive, and many companies choose GaN-on-SiC for their new designs and products. Meanwhile, LDMOS and GaAs remain the main technologies used for high-volume applications with lower performance requirements.

But the door hasn’t closed on GaN-on-Silicon. MA-COM is pushing its GaN-on-Silicon products and just announced its Gen4 GaN product for base stations, with an LDMOS-like cost structure. From 2016 - 2020, Yole envisions opportunities for GaN-on-Silicon in commercial markets like LTE, SATCOM terminals, CATV, and RF energy, with GaN-on-SiC still the go-to technology for GaN RF. The situation could change drastically, but for now GaN-on-Silicon remains a challenger to the incumbent GaN-on-SiC solution.

This report covers several different scenarios and their potential impact on the overall GaN RF market and its players.

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WHat's new compraed to last edition

  • Analysis of different scenarios related to GaN-on-SiC and GaN-on-Si developments beyond 2020
  • Updated technology trends analysis across different markets
  • Product and foundry service analysis for RF GaN players
  • Product analysis in different applicative markets
  • Business model analysis and comparison between different players
  • Major M&As during 2014/15, their context, and new entrants


Objectives of the Report

  • Provide an overview of the entire GaN RF market.
  • Analyze different players in different markets, along with their product range and technologies.
  • Outline market access -- from wafer suppliers to device makers and system manufacturers.
  • Highlight the main technologies in the different RF GaN markets.
  • Identify the key drivers that offer opportunities for GaN development.
  • Explain the needs of different RF markets and the corresponding impact on the needs for GaN technologies, along with geographical specificities.



Table of contents

Report objectives 8


Executive summary 10


Updating our 2014 GaN RF report 20

> Which scenario?
> What we got right
> What we got wrong
> Market forecast comparison


RF GaN HEMT technology overview 25

> RF components overview (1/2)
> RF components overview (2/2)
> Power and frequency regions for different semiconductors
> GaN HEMT device structure
> GaN / SiC / Si / GaAs: Material properties
> GaN / SiC / Si / GaAs: Power transistor comparison
> GaN’s added values
> Advantages at the system level for PA, LNA, and RF switch
> GaN MMIC description
> Top-view of GaN transistor and module
> RF package type and hermeticity
> Driver for plastic package
> GaN technology’s development history

GaN RF device applications overview 39

> Applications for GaN devices in RF electronic systems
> Radio frequency band range and applications
> GaN device applications roadmap
> RF power applications as a function of frequency and power
> Which applications already use GaN?
> Commercially-available GaN RF power products
> Comparison between commercial GaN products and total market
> GaN RF device market breakdown
> GaN RF device market size evolution
> Market overview (1/2)
> Market overview (2/2)

Wireless infrastructures 51

> Global connections by technology
> Telecommunication market share
> Evolution of mobile telecommunication technology (1/2)
> Evolution of mobile telecommunication technology (2/2)
> GaN opportunity in the cellular market
> 4G history and definition (1/3)
> 4G history and definition (2/3)
> 4G history and definition (3/3)
> WiMAX and LTE deployment planning: WiMAX carriers’ final hour
> WiMAX market estimation
> 4G LTE and WiMAX markets estimations
> Global LTE development forecast
> 2015 LTE deployment, companies, and countries mapping
> List of regions by 4G LTE penetration in 2015
> Cellular network structure
> Backhaul for Point-to-Point (PtP) and Point-to-Multipoints (PtMP)
> Typical LTE base station and cell tower
> Added value of GaN for BTS power amplifier (1/3)
> Added value of GaN for BTS power amplifier (2/3)
> Added value of GaN for BTS power amplifier (3/3)
> Globally-deployed cellular base station evolution
> BTS supply chain
> Total accessible market estimate for GaN FET in Telecom
> Number of wafers to be produced for GaN FET manufacturing in Telecom BTS market
> Wireless infrastructure: GaN RF product scheme
> Conclusions

Defense 78

> GaN application potential in the defense market
> Military RF applications & frequency bands
> GaN applications in radar systems (1/2)
> GaN applications in radar systems (2/2)
> GaN applications in EW/IED jammers
> GaN applications in electrical countermeasures
> GaN RF applications in military communications
> Market drivers for GaN RF in defense applications
> Roadmap for RF transistor volume in defense applications
> GaN product scheme for defense
> Conclusions

CATV market 91

> CATV: the basics
> Market drivers for GaN electronics in CATV (1/3)
> Market drivers for GaN electronics in CATV (2/3)
> Market drivers for GaN electronics in CATV (3/3)
> Evolution of DOCSIS 3.1
> CATV market in geographical terms
> HFC vs. FTTH
> CATV market size evolution:
        - Per year estimate of RF GaN device needs for the CATV market
        - Number of 4”-equivalent wafers to be produced for GaN FET manufacturing in the CATV market
> CATV GaN RF product scheme
> Conclusions


Satellite communications market 104

> Where is GaN used in satellite applications?
> Market drivers for GaN RF in SATCOM
> Market drivers for GaN electronics in V-SAT
> GaN implementation in VSAT T&R unit
> Per year estimate of RF GaN device needs for V-SAT market (units)
> GaN HEMT opportunities for V-SAT
> Per year estimate of RF GaN device needs for SATCOM market (units)
> GaN HEMT opportunities for SATCOM
> Satellite communication: GaN RF product scheme


Other applications 115

> GaN applications in RF energy
> GaN applications in LTE-U
> GaN applications in plasma lighting
> Other applications: GaN product scheme
> Conclusions


GaN RF devices: industrial landscape 122

> GaN RF industry: events and history
> Major GaN RF players and their device frequency range (1/2)
> Major GaN RF players and their device frequency range (2/2)
> Major GaN RF players and their target applications
> Market landscape
> Mapping: American players for power RF GaN-based devices (As of 2013)
> Mapping: American players for power RF GaN-based devices (As of 2015)
> Mapping: European players for power RF GaN-based devices
> Mapping: Asian players for power RF GaN-based devices
> GaN RF foundry technology comparison
> Mapping of GaN-on-Si and GaN-on-SiC RF: epiwafer vendors
> Mapping of GaN device: foundry
> Global industrial supply chain
> Estimation of GaN RF players' market share
> Debating between IDM and fabless in the GaN industry
> Conclusions


GaN RF substrate market 139

> GaN-on-XX epiwafer: expected specs
> GaN-on-XX HEMT: technology comparison
> GaN on Si epitaxy: challenges overview
> GaN on Si HEMTs for RF applications
> GaN-on-Diamond: double-wafer bonding approach
> Why use diamond for GaN HEMT?
> GaN-on-Diamond HEMT
> Semi-insulating SiC wafer market volume (units) for GaN RF: market forecast
> Epiwafer market volume (units) for GaN RF market
> Commercially-available GaN-on-SiC devices vs. GaN-on-Silicon devices
> GaN-on-Silicon vs. GaN on SiC: comparison
> GaN-on-Silicon: device design
> GaN-on-Silicon and GaN on SiC
> GaN-on-SiC and GaN-on-Silicon development scheme for distant future (1/3)
> GaN-on-SiC and GaN-on-Silicon development scheme for distant future (2/3)
> GaN-on-SiC and GaN-on-Silicon development scheme for distant future (3/3)
> Summarizing these three development schemes
> What's ahead for GaN-on-SiC and GaN-on-Silicon?


General conclusions 159


Companies cited

Bell Laboratory
China Mobile
China Telecom
China Unicom
Freiburg/Univ. Ulm/Fraunhofer IAF
Global Communication Semiconductors
IMECAS Infineon
LG Plus
Lockheed Martin
Mitsubishi Chemical
Mitsubishi Electric
Nokia Networks

Northrop Grumman
RF Lambda
SK Telecom
Sumitomo Electric
Enkris Semiconductor
Thales III-V Lab
Unity Wireless
WIN Semiconductors
and ZTE.





















































  • GaN RF applicative market description, including wireless infrastructure (LTE, 5G, etc.), defense, CATV and fiber, satellite communications, and other emerging applications

  • GaN RF market size projection through 2022

  • GaN RF players’ landscape: product and foundry service analysis, target application, business model, market share

  • State-of-the-art GaN HEMT technology

  • GaN RF wafer market

  • Comparison between two different GaN technologies: GaN-on-SiC and GaN-on-Silicon

  • GaN RF development trend: Yole’s vision