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Broadcom AFEM-8072 – Mid and High Band LTE RF Front-End Module (FEM)

3 490 €

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LTE Front end radio frequency Broadcom AFEM 8072The first mid/high band Long Term Evolution (LTE) Radio Frequency (RF) FEM in the Apple iPhone X integrates the latest generation of Film Bulk Acoustic Resonator (FBAR) technology with advanced and innovative packaging.

Apple is ahead of its competitors in many applications, most obviously imaging and display – and is now also adopting innovative technology in the radio-frequency (RF) area. Having usually depended on well-proven solutions, the company is now using the latest and most advanced filter and packaging technology from Broadcom, formerly Avago Technologies, in two of the three versions of the iPhone X. The versions dedicated to the Japanese and SIM-free markets feature a two-in-one Long Term Evolution (LTE) Front-End Module (FEM), covering the mid- and high-frequency RF bands. This FEM is the first to include advanced Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) shielding, allowing frequency band sharing in the same System-in-Package (SiP).

LTE Radio Frequency Broadcom AFEM 8072 iPhone X


Located on the main Printed Circuit Board (PCB) substrate underneath the SIM card slot, the RF Front-End (RFFE) has different configurations depending on the transceiver chipset. The AFEM-8072 from Broadcom was found in the Japanese and SIM-Free versions of the Apple iPhone X, the A1865 and A1902 respectively. In the European version, two separate modules from Avago share the RFFE area with Qorvo, Skyworks, and TDK-Epcos.

The AFEM-8072 is a mid- and high-band LTE FEM. As usual, it features several dies, including power amplifier, silicon-on-insulator switch and filters. The last ones still use Avago’s Microcap bonded-wafer Chip Scale Packaging (CSP) technology with Through-Silicon Vias (TSVs) enabling electrical contacts and scandium-doped aluminum nitride (AlScN) as a piezoelectric. However, for this special version, Broadcom has integrated two advanced features: An RF integrated circuit (IC) featuring several integrated passive devices (IPDs) for antenna matching; and an EMI shield inside the FEM to reduce interference between the dies. Moreover, Broadcom has chosen Sony to supply low power SOI switches.

Thanks to all these innovations, Broadcom is able to supply a cost effective two-in-one component with fewer interconnections.

This report analyzes the full FEM SiP, including the RF IC and its IPDs, the filtering dies and the internal and external EMI shielding. It also features a cost analysis and a price estimation of the component. Finally, it also includes a physical comparison with the single and the dual module for the mid and high band LTE FEM in the Apple iPhone X model A1901.


Table of contents

Overview / Introduction

Broadcom Company Profile

Apple iPhone X – Teardown

Market Analysis

Physical Analysis

> Physical Analysis Methodology

> Package
- View and dimensions
- Package opening: Power amplifier, switch, RF IC, filters
- Package cross-section: Overview, dimensions, substrate, internal and external shielding

> Package Physical Data Summary

> Power Amplifier, Switch Die
- View, dimensions, and markings
- Die overview and cross-section

> Matching RFIC Die
- View, dimensions, and markings
- Die overview and delayering
- Die process and cross-section

> Filter Dies
- View, dimensions, opening and markings
- Die overview: Cap, substrate, cells
- Die cross-section: Sealing frame, anchor, TSV, holes, FBAR structure

> Filter Physical Data Summary


Physical Comparison: Broadcom Separate Solution

> Package View and Dimensions

> Filter Dies

Manufacturing Process Flow

> Dies Process

> Filter Wafer Fabrication Unit

> Filter Process Flow

> Packaging Process Flow


Cost Analysis

> Cost Analysis Overview

> Main Steps Used in the Economic Analysis

> Yield Hypotheses

> Filter Die Cost
- Front-End Cost

- Front-end (FE) cost
- Filter wafer front-end cost per process step
- Wafer and die cost

> Matching RFIC Die Cost
- Front-end (FE) cost
- Wafer and die cost

> Packaging Cost

> Module Cost


Estimated Price Analysis




















About the authors


System Plus Consulting specializes in the cost analysis of electronics, from semiconductor devices to electronic systems.

Created more than 20 years ago, System Plus Consulting has developed a complete range of services, costing tools and reports to deliver in-depth production cost studies and estimate the objective selling price of a product.

System Plus Consulting engineers are experts in:

  • Integrated Circuits 
  • Power Devices & Modules 
  • MEMS & Sensors
  • Photonics 
  • LED 
  • Imaging 
  • Display 
  • Packaging 
  • Electronic Boards & Systems.

Through hundreds of analyses performed each year, System Plus Consulting offers deep added-value reports to help its customers understand their production processes and determine production costs. Based on System Plus Consulting’s results, manufacturers are able to compare their production costs to those of competitors.

System Plus Consulting is a sister company of Yole Développement.

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  • Detailed photos

  • Precise measurements

  • Materials analysis

  • Manufacturing process flow

  • Supply chain evaluation

  • Manufacturing cost analysis

  • Estimated sales price

  • Comparison with other Apple iPhone X versions