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RF GaN (Radio-Frequency Gallium Nitride) Market

RF GaN (Radio-Frequency Gallium Nitride) Market: Information by Application (Military Telecom Infrastructure), Material Type (GaN-on-Si, GaN-on-SiC), and Region – Forecast till 2031

Published On : 22 Nov, 2022
Updated On : 22 Nov, 2022
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Market Snapshot

Base Year:
2022
Study Period:
2021-2031
CAGR:
19.3 %
Fastest Growing Market:
North America
Largest Market:
Asia-Pacific

The global RF GaN (Radio-frequency Gallium Nitride) market size was valued at USD 1.18 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 5.77 billion by 2031, registering a CAGR of 19.3% during the forecast period (2022-2031). GaN transistors are finding their way into radio applications due to their superior frequency characteristics. To increase productivity and broaden bandwidth to meet the continuously rising data transmission rate, RF GaN is essential to wireless infrastructure. The RF GaN market is expected to be significantly influenced by rising 5G technology usage and wireless communication improvements. GaN power transistors are becoming more widely used, which may also be advantageous for telecom suppliers. Due to a rise in significant investments in GaN technologies, the RF GaN market has seen significant growth in several industries. GaN enables higher frequencies in more sophisticated applications, including radar, phased arrays, base transceiver stations for cable TV (CATV), and defense communications, thanks to the ongoing advancements in gallium nitride (GaN) technology.

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Market Dynamics

Global RF GaN Market Drivers

Strong Demand from Telecom Infrastructure 

The telecommunications industry is regarded as a significant adopter of digital transformation technologies, both as a key driver of worldwide digitization and as an industry witnessing a large-scale change in its market environment. Investment by the telecommunications industry in interoperability and technology reinforced a paradigm shift in capital flows and information through the global economy while providing the building blocks for the emergence of completely new business models across industries.

GaN RF technology is quickly becoming the preferred option for network service providers because of its capacity to offer connections with higher-frequency data bandwidth. These devices ensure that the device generates the maximum frequency at the necessary band by preventing interference from other frequency bands. GaN RF power devices would enable users to upload and download high-quality media content, such as music and photographs, as well as play online games and watch online TV shows on maximum frequency bands, which is anticipated to increase the use of current mobile devices. Hence, stong demand from the telecommunications industry drive market growth.

Favorable Attributes such as High-performance and Small Form Factors to Drive Adoption in Military Segment

The constant increase in defense budgets in both developing and developed nations and the demand for technologically advanced products in the arsenal of national and international armed forces are expected to further fuel the global market's growth. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, global military spending reached USD 1,922 billion in 2019 compared to USD 1,855 billion in 2018, USD 1,807 billion in 2017, and USD 1,785 billion in 2016. Furthermore, military radio frequency and microwave products are expected to witness growth as technological advancements in phased-array systems and other complex applications depend heavily on these components, thereby driving demand for the product.

The adoption of GaN has been advancing significantly over the past few years, with several thousand devices developed and implemented in multiple military applications such as radar, satellite communication, and counter-IED jammers, among others. The combination of high frequency, wide bandwidth, and high power capabilities, along with the high-temperature operation, has made GaN devices a natural fit for military applications. These have become strategic military material. Various technological advancements have been made to utilize GaN to develop violet, blue, green, and white light-emitting diodes, which have also helped improve the material's quality. This has also paved the way for its increasing utilization in radar technology. All such factors propel the segment's growth.

Global RF GaN Market Restraint

Cost & Operational Challenges

The inherent material advantages of GaN come with some associated manufacturing challenges that include the cost and optimization of the epitaxy and the optimization of device processing and packaging. Some other issues include charge trapping and current collapse that needs to be resolved for increased adoption of these devices. Although significant improvements have been made in RF GaN-based devices (performance and yields), however, there are still some barriers preventing the gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN-on-SiC) from entering the mainstream applications (i.e., in wireless telecom base-stations or CATV). In applications below 3.5GHz, these GaN-on-SiC are not cost-effective enough compared to the Si-LDMOS, primarily resulting in lower market penetration rates.

Besides cost, there are also some other issues with RF GaN. This GaN device characterization is primarily required to provide designers with predictable transistor models from which they can perform the circuit simulations, thereby developing the necessary impedance matching and bias circuitry for the high-efficiency/high-linearity power amplifiers that are being used in today's communication systems. All such factors impede market growth.

Global RF GaN Market Opportunities

Adoption of 5G Networks

5G adoption is widely considered an inflection point for the market studied. 5G networks operate in newer and higher frequency bands, requiring new underlying technology and performance standards for RF devices. The emerging 5th generation of mobile networks primarily aims for lower latency compared to 4G equipment and lower battery consumption, enabling far better IoT implementation. With multiple telecom giants migrating toward 5G networks (such as AT&T) and high-speed services, RF power amplifier products are witnessing another strong revenue generation channel. Various RF power amplifier manufacturers have already begun the production of 5G-compatible RF solutions that will strongly support the growth of 5G networks.

Radar and communications technologies have been very critical for defense and commercial applications. Gallium Nitride (GaN)-based RF solutions deliver higher power operation and enhanced efficiency in much smaller form factors than competing technologies, primarily enabling performance enhancements for high-performance radar and communications systems. 5G is coming faster than ever before, pushing RF performance and technology improvements. All the above factors drive the market growth.

Segmental Analysis of the Global RF GaN Market

The global RF GaN (Radio-frequency Gallium Nitride) market is bifurcated by application, material type, and region.

By application, the global RF GaN (Radio-frequency Gallium Nitride) market is bifurcated into military, telecom infrastructure (backhaul, RRH, massive MIMO, small cells), wired broadband, satellite communication, commercial radar and avionics, RF energy, and other applications. The military dominated the market and is estimated to register a CAGR of 22.7% during the forecast period. The modernization of defense equipment is increasing the need for high-power semiconductor devices. Also, the growing demand for high-power applications is increasing the need for high frequencies in the defense sector. This provides several growth opportunities for the market. Defense applications are increasingly using RF GaN power devices due to the need to replace old vacuum tube designs with solid-state technologies that deliver the requirement for higher frequencies. The need for the RF power market is also driven by the growing use of GaN as the basis for devices that give radar and electronic warfare systems ECM (electrochemical machining) capabilities, particularly for land-based RF jammers to protect troops. The military uses the RF GAN as an alternative or replacement for laterally diffused MOSFET (LDMOS) components in military radar and EW system designs. Over the anticipated term, this is anticipated to accelerate market expansion.

The telecom infrastructure segment is the second largest. Furthermore, the 5G technology is expected to revolutionize the domain of various broadband services and empower connectivity across different end-user verticals. The main drivers responsible for increasing the market share are increased mobile subscriptions, online video content streaming, strengthening 5G infrastructure, and various IoT applications utilizing 5G. 5G is anticipated to support various services and associated service requirements across multiple scenarios. With 5G, the density of RF solutions required increased exponentially. That makes it imperative to reduce energy consumption. GaN power transistors have become a key component of base station technology for 5G, providing the finest performance. To increase electron entrapment in the semiconductor, NXP improved their GaN technology, primarily to guarantee strong linearity and low memory effects. Similar investments and expansions are anticipated to accelerate the market under study's growth.

The number of 5G mobile subscriptions was valued at 0.42 million in 2019, globally, and it is expected to reach 400 million subscriptions by 2022. With the substantial growth in the rollouts of 5G technology globally, the demand for RF GaN technology is expected to increase.

By material type, the global RF GaN (Radio-frequency Gallium Nitride) market is segmented into GaN-on-Si, GaN-on-SiC, and other material types (GaN-on-GaN, GaN-on-Diamond). The GaN-on-Si segment dominated the market and is estimated to register a CAGR of 17.6% during the forecast period. Some major applications of GaN-on-Si devices include base stations and telecommunication, defense and aerospace, and satellite communication, among others. Besides, these devices are widely implemented in LEDs and power electronics. Traditionally, base stations have been using laterally-diffused metal-oxide-semiconductor (LDMOS) (planar double-diffused MOSFET technology) based RF power amplifiers (PAs) devices. However, over the past few years, RF GaN devices have displaced LDMOS devices in base stations. While LDMOS still represents a significant share of base station power amplifiers revenue, the GaN is expected to have a higher growth rate and become more prevalent as 5G deployments go higher in frequency. While the GaN-on-Si within 150mm wafer diameter is already being deployed for various end-use applications, 200 mm diameter, GaN-on-Si wafers are in the process of development by leading players in the manufacturing space. Such key trends are anticipated to drive the market's growth during the forecast period steadily.

Regional Analysis of the Global RF GaN Market

By region, the global RF GaN (Radio-frequency Gallium Nitride) market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World.

RF GaN Market Regional Analysis

Regional Growth Insights Request Sample Pages

Asia-Pacific dominated the market and is estimated to register a CAGR of 19.3% during the forecast period. China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea account for around 65% of the global market for discrete semiconductors. Other countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore also significantly contribute to the Asia-Pacific area's market supremacy. In military applications, due to the increase of T/R systems in airborne radar, GaN devices are replacing bulky traveling wave-tube (TWT)-based systems, ensuring that defense will remain among the primary drivers of the GaN market. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), China and India were the second-and third-largest military spenders in the world in 2019. China's military expenditure reached USD 261 billion in 2019, a 5.1% increase from 2018, while India's expenditure grew by 6.8% to USD 71.1 billion. Such instances are likely to boost the market growth in the region.

North America is the second largest region. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 450 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 18% during the forecast period. People who make, design, and study semiconductors in North America are among the first to use new technologies. The development of the RF GaN market in North America is strongly correlated with the growth of end-user sectors like telecom, aerospace and defense, consumer electronics, and others. The government's strategy is probably going to boost market expansion. For instance, the U.S. government has chosen Qorvo to build a State-of-the-Art (SOTA) Heterogeneous Integrated Packaging (SHIP) RF production and prototyping center in November 2020. The SHIP program will ensure that U.S. defense contractors and commercial clients needing to design, validate, assemble, test, and manufacture next-generation RF components have access to leadership and expertise in microelectronics packaging.

Europe is the third largest region. The European region is home to some important tech hubs worldwide and a significant driver and adopter of modern technology. The market is expanding because of the increased usage of modern technologies and semiconductors across various regional sectors. The RF GaN technology in the area is receiving significant funding. For instance, Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD) announced in June 2020 a 10.3 million euro initiative to develop intelligent GaN power modules. It is a component of the Penta initiative, and Infineon is one of its partners, together with academic and business institutions from the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Penta project will offer CGD a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with cutting-edge power electronics businesses. Such occurrences and ongoing operations in the area propel the market's expansion.

Competitive Landscape

Major companies in the global RF GaN (Radio-frequency Gallium Nitride) market are RFHIC Corporation, Aethercomm Inc., Wolfspeed Inc. (Cree Inc.), Integra Technologies Inc., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, NXP Semiconductors NV, Qorvo Inc., Analog Devices Inc., Microsemi Corporation (Microchip Technology Incorporated), Sumitomo Electric Device Innovations Inc., STMicroelectronics NV, HRL Laboratories, MACOM Technology Solutions Holdings Inc., Raytheon Technologies, Mercury Systems, Inc.

Recent Developments by Key Players

  • November 2022- Analog Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADI) today announced that AUO Corporation (TPE:2409) would use ADI's matrix LED display driver technology in their market-leading automotive widescreen display portfolio. This industry-first technology enables local dimming, significantly improving power consumption by a minimum of 50% and supporting functional safety requirements. 
  • October 2022 - The collaboration between Analog Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADI) and Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) to enhance phased array technology adoption was announced today. By streamlining the steps of satellite communication, radar, and phased array system development, this technology is essential to achieving ubiquitous connection and sensing.

Global RF GaN (Radio-Frequency Gallium Nitride) Market: Segmentation

By Application

  • Military Telecom Infrastructure (Backhaul, RRH, Massive MIMO, Small Cells)
  • Satellite Communication
  • Wired Broadband
  • Commercial Radar and Avionics
  • RF Energy
  • Other Applications

By Material Type

  • GaN-on-Si
  • GaN-on-SiC
  • Other Material Types (GaN-on-GaN, GaN-on-Diamond)

By Region

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Rest of the World
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