While wireless backhaul radio quantities will grow slowly, price erosion will create a decline in RF component revenues in the segment. The recently released Strategy Analytics Advanced Semiconductor Applications (ASA) spreadsheet model and Forecast and Outlook report, “Wireless Backhaul RF Component Demand: 2014 – 2019”, forecasts RF component revenues will experience a compound average growth rate of minus 2 percent over the forecast period.
The report concludes:
- Even though the quantity of wireless backhaul radios will grow and wireless will remain the backhaul method for more than 50 percent of the market, fiber-based backhaul networks will capture market share.
- The need to accommodate rapidly increasing amounts of data consumption will push equipment manufacturers and operators to higher frequency bands. The frequency bands at 60 GHz and above will see an annual growth rate of 33 percent, as enormous available bandwidth outweighs the design challenges of these higher frequencies.
- While this market is served primarily by GaAs devices, GaN revenue for power amplifiers will grow to $6 million in 2019
Eric Higham, Service Director, Advanced Semiconductor Applications commented: “There is no question that backhaul has become a critical part of wireless network deployment and the rapid increase in wireless data consumption is forcing system designers to develop networks that provide options for future growth. This “future-proofing” is leading to fast growth in the higher frequency bands, but it is also creating much more interest in fiber-based front haul and the added capabilities which that architecture provides.”
Asif Anwar, Director in the Strategic Technologies Practice added: “As radio requirements continue to get tougher, we are seeing manufacturers turn to GaN to solve the linearity, bandwidth, frequency and efficiency challenges. The low power functions are still predominately GaAs, but there are significant development activities aimed at integrating transmit and receive functions in silicon.”