Press Release

GaAs IC Market Grew Only 1% in 2011 Following 36% Growth in 2010 Says The Information Network


January 12th, 2012

Global Information Inc. would like to present a new market research report, "The GaAs IC Market" by Information Network.

Weak wireless demand resulted in nearly stagnant growth in Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) ICs in 2011, according to The Information Networks new report, "The GaAs IC Market"

"Every cell phone contains Power Amplifiers (PA), which enables the handset to transmit voice and data back to the base station tower to route a call to another phone number or Internet address. PAs, the most critical radio frequency component in the phone are currently dominated by circuits made with Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)," noted Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network.

GaAs ICs grew 1% in 2011 following a 36% in 2010, as a result of weak demand in wireless  cell phones and WiFi. This represents the smallest growth since a 1.7% gain in 2009. The wireless/WiFi market should recover in 2012 and the GaAs IC market should register an 8% gain.

3G handsets often contain up to five PAs, and GaAs makes up 100% of the market, which is close to $5 billion. In addition, the number of PAs per handset is growing because of: complex 3G systems, global roaming support, and data roaming support. Pricing for PAs has increased from $0.80 per handset to $2.90 currently and is projected to increase to greater than $3.50 once Long Term Evolution (LTE) and Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum emerge in advanced handsets in the marketplace.

While industrialized countries are using 3G networks, todays world is a mixture of 2/2.5G and 3G networks, the heavy majority of subscribers are actually on 2G-based networks  and predicted to remain so for a number of years. Of new handsets sold in 2010, about 50% will still be 2G. Between 70 to 80% of Skyworks and RF Micro Devices GaAs business is in PAs.

2G handsets contain 1 PA, so it represents a sizable market. Because they arent as technologically advanced as 3G cell phones, particularly smartphones, silicon is making inroads in the GaAs domain. For 2011, only 90% of PAs were made in GaAs, 5% in silicon CMOS, and 5% in silicon LDMOS.

Besides the technical dynamics, Skyworks has positioned in the market by its mid-2009 acquisition of CMOS PA supplier Axiom Micro Devices. Also, in September 2009, privately held Black Sand announced the worlds first 3G CMOS RF PA. Black Sands proprietary CMOS PA architecture offers a breakthrough in combined performance, cost, battery life, and reliability for mobile devices. Other CMOS PA companies of note include Javelin and Amalfi. Another rumored to be working on CMOS PA is ACCO.


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