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Wireless infrastructure seen as growing market for GaAs ICs

August 26, 2011 // EE Times

Wireless infrastructure seen as growing market for GaAs ICs

The global market for gallium arsenide (GaAs) semiconductors used in wireless network infrastructure is projected to grow to reach about $320 million in 2015 from roughly $205 million in 2011, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics Inc.

With mobile data consumption continuing to skyrocket, operators are refining their wireless infrastructure network architecture to support the increasing data demand, according to Strategy Analytics (Boston). The firm's recent report on the GaAs and compound semiconductor market forecasts that developments like multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) antennas, heterogeneous networks, remote radio heads and small cells will increase the number of base station sectors, but reduce the transmit power required from each sector. Both trends will lead to a consistent growth rate for GaAs devices, according to Strategy Analytics.

"4G technologies, like LTE, are forcing the network evolution to larger numbers of lower power infrastructure sectors which will increase the opportunity for GaAs amplifiers," said Asif Anwar, a director in the Strategy Analytics strategic technologies practice, in a statement.

This Strategy Analytics report forecasts that the number of base station sector shipments will increase to slightly more than 9.2 million in 2015. More than half of these sectors will be for lower power, smaller cells, according to the forecast.

"Mobile data consumption is rapidly pushing the wireless infrastructure market to an inflection point," said Eric Higham, director of the Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service, in a statement. "Operators are implementing networks that rely on smaller, lower power cell footprints to ensure that consumers continue to embrace data applications. This architecture expands opportunities for GaAs components."

The report also details the history and latest trends for antennas, power amplifiers, low noise amplifiers, transceivers and front-end components, Strategy Analytics said. It also segments the wireless infrastructure amplifier market by function and technology and forecasts the number of base station sectors by geography, frequency and output power, according the firm.

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