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RF Filters, PAS, Antenna Switches & Tunability for Cellular Handsets
Mar.2012

antenna switches in handsets image
5 990 €

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Description

Yole RFFilters 2012How emerging technologies are driving the RF architecture changes and will create new market opportunities

Market for key RF components to reach $4.7B in 2016

The radio-front end is a key part in every cell phone, from low cost GSM handset to multi-mode multi-band LTE smartphones. This market is very fragmented in terms of architectures, however there are a few types of components that are key. Filters or duplexers, power amplifiers and antenna switches are at the heart of every cell phone radio. Those components represent a $3.6B market in 2011 already, growing at a 5.6% rate annually until 2016. This report highlights that as this market becomes increasingly attractive, major technical evolutions and changes are observed in the competitive landscape for those categories of devices.

Filters and duplexers are the most dynamic market. Driven by duplexers which are growing at a 10.5% rate annually, this market will reach $1.7B in 2016. Indeed smartphones are widely using WCDMA bands and LTE is a new strong driver. Depending on each band, SAW or BAW developments are candidate to further growth. While Epcos and Murata dominate the SAW area, we observe a fierce competition between Avago and TriQuint in the BAW segment.

Power amplifier is another strategic component in the RF part. This market matures but we still see many new technologies which impact the market. One current trend is that converged PAs and more broadband PAs are increasingly accepted in the market. GaAs is still dominating the PA market by far but is poised to loose market shares as CMOS PAs are growing, starting at the low end side of the market, and as SOI technology could be used for PAs in the near future. There is thus still room for many changes in the competitive landscape dominated by Skyworks, with RFMD, TriQuint, Avago and Murata / Renesas as challengers.

Antenna switches also become more mature however we observe evolutions in 2 directions. First we see an evolution towards more performance for the new LTE bands and increasing number of throws. This is where Peregrine Semiconductor has a leading position. Second we see massive adoption of SOI technology since 2010. All big players are now involved with this technology which offers a good price/performance ratio. GaAs switches are thus decreasing, although some players still release products with exceptional performances, such as Sony. At the same time new technologies are getting closer to production, this is what is observed with MEMS.

Market RF filter image1
Market RF filter image2


Tunability and changes in achitecture

This report provides a detailed analysis on tunability, which is a new hot topic for radio front end modules. Indeed after years of development, antenna tuners have been accepted in 2011. Not only GaAs switches but also ferroelectric capacitors and MEMS variable capacitors have been successfully integrated into flagship products such as some Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphones. While there is no consensus yet on this topic, antenna tuners are now really providing a significant value proposition, we thus expect it to be the next very hot market in this space. New types of tuners and massive deployment of LTE within 2014 will be additional drivers for tunability. Leading the MEMS field, Wispry will be a key player to watch, while Sony and Peregrine also offer promising approaches based on alternative technologies. The acquisition of Paratek by RIM in March 2012 is also a sign that antenna tuners will be a strategic technology to be integrated in many cellphone platforms in the near future.

Wispry RF MEMS Image


All those changes at the component level (PA, ASM, filters...) and the rise of tunability are having a dramatic impact in the global RF part architecture evolutions. Both technical and competitive challenges and opportunities are shaping the future front end modules. Similarly the trend for integration in various types of modules is driving changes at the individual component level. New packaging technologies now enable compact multi-chip packages: Rx modules, PA modules, multi-duplexers... All together, the front-end modules are already a $2.0B market in 2011 and grow at a 12.0% yearly rate, this will represent more than 3 times the value of the standalone PAs, filters/duplexers, tuners in 2016.

Rapid evolution of technology and competitive landscape

While we start to see some level of consolidation, the competitive landscape in this RF market is changing quickly. Some companies are getting more vertically integrated, such as Murata after the acquisition of Renesas PA business, which may translate in a change in the business model of the company. As highlighted in the report, there are today a limited number of companies which dominate this RF space, but generally those players are involved in very specific market space, this means that significant evolutions can be expected in the near future. For instance Skyworks is leading the PA market and is big in switches but has no activity in filters, while Avago is a large PA vendor and dominates the BAW filter market, but is neither involved in SAW filters nor in antenna switches.

Antenna switches in handsets image


The evolution of architecture towards modules is one driver that pushes each company to be able to handle all types of components or to set up specific partnerships. Another driver for competitive change is the technical evolution which is very quick in this area: at the antenna switch level, players with early involvement in SOI switches (Skyworks, RFMD) are getting more market shares against players involved in GaAs (TriQuint...). This type of change should be observed with PA technology as well.

Table of contents

Introduction and Definitions 3
Executive Summary 19
RF Filter / Duplexer Market 33
> Overview of RF filters / duplexers
> SAW market forecasts and market share
> Technology trends for SAW filters and duplexers
> BAW market forecasts and market share
> Technology trends for FBAR / BAW filters and duplexers

Power Amplifier Market 84
> Technology trends for power amplifiers
> PA pricing, market forecasts and market share

Antenna Switching Market 117
> Technology trends for antenna switching
> GaAs switches
> HR-SOI switches
> SOS switches
> Bulk CMOS switches
> MEMS for antenna switching
> Antenna switching pricing, market forecasts and market share
Tunability 151
> Drivers for tunable architectures
> Application description: antenna tuning, tunable PA, tunable filters/duplexers
> Tuning technology platforms
> Profile of key players
> Tunability pricing, market forecasts and market share

FEM Architecture Evolution 214
> Key drivers for radio front end modules
> Trends for GSM FEM
> Drivers and curent architectures for 3G and 4G phones
> FEM market forecasts

Background on the RF Industry and Technology Principles 274
> RF ecosystem, supply chain and global drivers
> Architecture of RF filters / duplexers
> Principles of SAW filters and duplexers
> Principles of FBAR / BAW filters and duplexers

Conclusion and Perspectives 311

Companies cited

ACX
Amalfi
Amkor
Amplitronis SAW
Anadigics
Apple
AT&S
Atlantec
Avago
AVX-Kyocera
Black Sand
Technologies
Broadcom
Carsem
Cavendish Kinetics
CEA LETI
C-Tech
Daisho Denshi
DelfMEMS
Foxconn
Freescale
Fujitsu
Giga Solutions
Hitachi
HTC
Huawei
Ibiden
IBM
Icera
IM tech
Imbera
IMEC
Infineon
Inostek
Intel
Ipedia
Javelin Semiconductor
Kyocera
LG
Magnachip
Maruwa
Maxim
Mediatek
Mini-circuits
Mitsubishi
Motorola
Murata
NDK
NEC
Nelco
Nokia
NTT Docomo
NXP
OKI
Omron
On Semiconductor
Oscillent
Panasonic
Paratek
Peregrine
Pilkor CND
Qualcomm
RDA Microelectronics
Renesas
RFMD
RIM
Rubicon
Samsung
Shoulder Electronics Ltd
Sigurd
Skyworks
Soitec
Sony
Sony Mobile
Spectrum Microwave
SPIL
ST-Ericsson
STMicroelectronics
STATSChipPAC
Subtron
Taconic
Tai-Saw
Taiyo Yuden
TDK Epcos
Token
Tong Hsing
Toshiba
TriQuint
TSMC
Unisem
UTAC
Vectron
Vishay
VTT
Win Semiconductor
WiSOL
Wispry
WUS
Yokowo
ZTE 

 

KEY FEATURES OF THE REPORT

  • RF filters / Duplexers, Power Amplifiers, Antenna switches, Tuners
  • All types of cell phones: GSM/GPRS, Edge, CDMA & TDCDMA, UMTS (WCDMA), LTE
  • 2010 – 2016 worldwide market metrics market ($M, M units, ASP)
  • 2011 market shares
  • Market dynamics, technical trends, key players, market forecasts for each component
  • Established and new substrate technologies are taken into account: GaAs, HR-SOI, SOS, Bulk CMOS, MEMS, BST
  • Radio Front End Modules: typology of modules, key drivers, market forecasts
  • 100+ companies included in the report
  • Report is a 300+ slides PowerPoint presentation