The Millimeter Wave Technology Market was valued at USD 296.70 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 1.8 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 34.56% over the forecast period 2021 - 2026. This technology accommodates a massive increase in data demands arising from connected homes, AR/VR devices, cloud gaming systems, self-driving vehicles, IoT sensors, and other cloud-connected devices. With Verizon indicating Internet of Things devices to reach 20.4 billion devices by 2020, a significant driver for the same is 5G. Likewise, the E-band and V-band are increasingly adopted across applications spanning from enterprise-level data centers to smart-phone enabled consumers requiring higher bandwidth.
- The possibility of such high-speed communication was demonstrated as early as in 2016, with the then-latest 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard, which operates at 60 GHz. It is currently being considered by standard-setting organizations, like the Federal Communications Commission and others, as the way to bring "5G" into the mass market by allocating more bandwidth to deliver faster, higher-quality video, and multimedia content and services. With the current market scenario changed, owing to the development and evolution of new technologies, the mm-wave is on the brink of being an integral part of the next-generation network.
- At the planned World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) in November 2019, the member states of the ITU agreed on new 5G spectrum allocations in the high-band range (24.25 to the 86GHz), also referred to as the mmWave bands, and supported a broad range of new industry applications using 5G NR technology as specified by 3GPP.
- Millimeter-wave, also known as very high frequency (VHF) or extremely high frequency (EHF) by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), is extensively being preferred for high-speed wireless broadband communications. Many countries are not waiting for 5G regulations and specifications to be finalized at the WRC-19; they are already taking steps toward commercial 5G New Radio (NR), with a particular focus on the spectrum range 26.5 to 29.5GHz (the 28GHz band).
- The initial adoption of mm-wave is expected to be more in North America and the European region, as the standards are more defined. Multiple types of research are happening in this market domain. Across Asia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea are expected to adopt mmWave 5G in the near-term, whereas European counterparts such as Denmark, Malta, and France have already adopted the technology. For instance, as of October 2019, France announced 11 mmWave trials at 26 GHz with applications based across logistics, smart city, mobility, and sports events coverage, to name a few.
- Amid the COVID-19 global outbreak, major telecom operators have announced the continuation of 5G deployment projects. This is likely for the market to adhere to previous launch timelines. As of April 2020, the Chinese government led the 5G infrastructure vendors and telecommunications carriers to continue an aggressive roll-out of high-speed mobile networks. Also, state-run China Tower, an infrastructure firm providing base station and fiber backhaul support, seemed to have re-stocking the technology supply chains.
Key Market Trends
Antennas & Transceiver Hold Significant Market Share
- The millimeter waves operate at very high frequencies and tend to cover a range of 1mm to 10mm, and hence, they do not travel far. With shorter wavelengths, the 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz, and 92-95 GHz (70/80/90 GHz) bands are permitted to use smaller antennas, in comparison to similar circumstances for the lower bands. This also gives directivity and high gain.
- With these antennas susceptible to easy blockage, usage of boosters and multiple mm-based antennas has been among the potential solution. For instance, back in 2018, Qualcomm produced an antenna array made up of four antennas, small enough to fit inside a smartphone and capable of handshaking with 5G cell sites.
- Mm-wave technology has profoundly impacted the evolution of the radar sensors and has offered significant capabilities and efficiency improvements. The automobile industry is expected to benefit from this development. The increasing AEB (automatic emergency braking) applications in the 77 GHz radar market is one such indicator of the opportunities held in the market. Innovation, in collaboration with end-users of the market, is expected to lead to the adoption of advanced products, to reduce the development to the market time of these mmWave antennas.
- The reach limitations make it a high potential solution for applications that require to be used in fixed boundaries. The industry floor is expected to exploit these and emerge among the early adopters. With the recent focus on safety, such as the release of new federal guidance for automated vehicles, for instance, Automated Vehicles 3.0 by the NHTSA, the market potential has been extended for use in the mid-end cars.
North America is Expected to Hold Major Market Share
- In the North American region, the telecom service providers, such as AT&T and Verizon, have been tapping into the millimeter-wave frequencies to roll-out commercial 5G services. The adoption needs the impetus from the standard-setting organizations to support further development of 5G. The US Federal Communications Commission has been directing the same by spectrum launch, as it gains momentum, and innovation is further witnessed across 5G and cellular antennas.
- Mobile operators have started to focus on active antennas and mmWave, while multiple startups in the region seem to flourish, with Airways, Lightpointe, and Fractal Antennas being such instances. Vendor related activity is likely to spur across mmWave 5G networks in terms of intellectual property.
- As of January 2020, TeraGo, a provider of cloud, colocation, and connectivity services in Canada, announced the commencement of 5G millimeter wave technical trials in Toronto Area and Greater Golden Horseshoe Area by the first quarter of 2020. The company further looked for equipment from Nokia. Additionally, the trials use 24 and 38 GHz frequency bands using both ISED developmental licenses and TeraGo's owned licensed spectrum.
- With the planned release in mid-2020, the 802.11ax standard would enable speeds of 10 Gbps, up to 40% faster than Wave 2 802.11ac. Factors such as the massive volume of data that is getting generated and the IoT future with all the devices connected to create a smart environment, are expected to further drive the demand in this regional market.
- Adoption of AR, VR, and HD resolutions has led to colossal-sized content generation and is expected to motivate further the service providers and the stakeholders in the market to upgrade their communication infrastructure. Additionally, investments in the self-driving car's market, the automobile industry for connected cars' future, and industry 4.0 are expected to drive mm-wave technology in the supporting infrastructure across North America.
The Millimeter Wave Technology Market is competitive. With the proliferation of 5G, the market is expected to expand and attract more significant players. The present landscape is expected to experience several collaborations in the near future among telecom service providers and companies producing mmWave products. Some of the key developments in the market are:
- In March 2020 - Keysight Technologies, Inc. offered enhanced UXR Oscilloscopes to accelerate the development of next-generation mmWave communications and applications. The UXR0051AP Infiniium UXR-Series Oscilloscope provides a frequency range of 110 GHz across standard analysis bandwidth and analyzes millimeter-wave 1x1 and 2x2 MIMO 5G NR communication links.
- In January 2020 - NEC Corporation announced the development of millimeter-wave distributed antennas for the efficient use of a 5G millimeter-wave spectrum across the 28GHz band.
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