Strong wireless demand resulted in growth of more than 25% in Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) ICs in 2015, according to the report “The GaAs IC Market,” recently published by The Information Network, a New Tripoli, PA-based market research company.
“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,” noted Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network.
2G handsets contain one PA while 3G handsets often contain up to five PAs, and GaAs makes up nearly 100% of the market. Today’s RF front-ends are moving towards multi-mode, multi-band power amps. Typically, the power amp is based on GaAs heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) technology. The power amp amplifies RF signals in the phone.
“GaAs amplifiers will continue to lose market share to CMOS, but it will be the dominant RF technology in the foreseeable future,” added Dr. Castellano. “Pricing for PAs has increased from $0.30 per 2G handset to $1.25 per 3G handset and $3.25 for Global Long Term Evolution (LTE).”
The Apple 6S 4G Smartphone contains six PAs: Avago ACPM-7600, Avago ACPM-8010, Qualcomm QFE2320, Qualcomm QFE2340, Skyworks SKY85303, and Skyworks SKY85707, according to the report.