RF power semiconductors near $1.5B for 2017 with GaN driving the way

Spending on RF power semiconductors (for < 4GHz and > 3W) was still moving forward in 2017. The wireless infrastructure segment was flat but other markets – notably the military/defense – are moving forward, according to ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies. Additionally, Gallium Nitride (GaN) – long seen as the likely promising new “material of choice” for RF power semiconductors – is continuing its march to capture share.

“Gallium Nitride (GaN) has the promise of gaining market share in 2018 and is forecast to be a significant force over the next few years,” noted ABI Research Director Lance Wilson. “It bridges the gap between two older technologies, exhibiting the high-frequency performance of Gallium Arsenide combined with the power handling capabilities of Silicon LDMOS. It is now a mainstream technology which has now achieved measurable market share and in future will capture a significant part of the market.”

Wireless infrastructure while representing about two-thirds of total sales has been anemic recently. Growth for other segments outside of wireless infrastructure are showing mid-single digit CAGR over the forecast period of 2018 to 2023.

The vertical market showing the strongest uptick in the RF power semiconductor adoption business, outside of defense, is Commercial Avionics and Air Traffic Control, which Wilson describes as being now “a significant market.” While the producers of these devices are in the major industrialized countries, this sub-segment market is now so global that end equipment buyers can be from anywhere.

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