Over recent years, GaN has been significantly adopted by the Radio-Frequency (RF) industry owing to its higher power output at high frequencies, and its smaller footprint. The overall GaN RF market is expected to reach $2B by 2024, driven by two main applications: telecom infrastructure and defense.
Worldwide investment in telecom infrastructure has remained stable in the past decade, with a recent increase coming from Chinese government efforts.
But in this steady market, the trend toward higher frequencies offers a sweet spot for RF GaN in power amplifiers (PA) in fifth-generation (5G) network at frequencies below 6GHz, in remote radio heads (RRH). This application is expected to drive GaN market growth in the next five years. Even though the next generation active antenna technology could offer an advantage to silicon Laterally Diffused Metal Oxide Semiconductor (LDMOS) technology, due to technical limitations such as thermal management and the localized need for such antennas in mostly high density areas, RRHs will not be replaced and will stay for the long term, using GaN PAs. Future large scale deployments of small cells and backhaul connections are also expected to represent a significant opportunity for RF GaN, starting from 2021.