Although the market for RF gallium arsenide (GaAs) devices (merchant and captive, but excluding foundry) rose by just 0.9% in 2016 as an anticipated drop in cellular revenue nearly offset gains in other market segments, revenue still managed to surpass $7.5bn for the first time, and gigabit LTE and emerging 5G applications will drive revenue past $9.2bn in 2021, forecasts the Strategy Analytics’ Advanced Semiconductor Applications (ASA) service in its report ‘RF GaAs Device Forecast and Outlook: 2016–2021’.
Wireless applications (especially cellular terminals) continue to be the dominant segment and the driving force for the entire GaAs market. “The RF GaAs device market is so dependent on cellular terminals that declining growth rates in smartphone sales has put the brakes on total revenue growth,” says Eric Higham, director of the Advanced Semiconductor Applications (ASA) service. “The good news for the industry is that growing adoption of gigabit LTE networks and devices, coupled with emerging 5G opportunities, will restart the GaAs growth engine.” The added complexity of gigabit LTE cellular terminals will offset slowing smartphone growth and price erosion, resulting in additional revenue growth in the GaAs device market, adds the report.
“We are seeing new platforms and major program upgrades starting to ramp toward production, and these developments will maintain the growth of GaAs device revenue in the defense sector,” adds Asif Anwar, director of the Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service.