The telecom infrastructure market has not moved much in the past decade in terms of the value of operators’ investments. Customer pricing also keeps decreasing, and building new infrastructure keeps showing smaller and smaller returns on investments for telecom operators. In this context, an attempt to create new markets and enlarge operators’ reach to customers beyond hand sets created 5G. The global landscape at network level will not move much before 2025. But it will definitely change in terms of technology and antenna systems, thus completely restructuring the radio frequency (RF) component industry. On one hand frequencies are going from less than 3 GHz to up to 6 GHz for macro deployments, while small cells exploit millimetre-wavelengths (mm-waves). Meanwhile RF line power levels in front-ends will decrease from a few hundred watts to down to a few watts in macro site antenna systems, thanks to massive MIMO and active antenna systems implementation. At Hand set level, the main phone manufacturers differentiate from each other on the RF field by adopting either an integrated or a discrete approach. The market leaders Samsung, Apple, as well as smaller OEMs such as Sony, LG, Google or ZTE are moving towards integration using complex RF modules from Broadcom, Skyworks, Qorvo, Qualcomm and Murata, while the markets challengers, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, which drive as much volume as the market leaders, differentiate by favouring a discrete approach whenever possible. In our presentation, we will review how 5G is reshaping the RF Front-End industry. We will explain the positioning of the main component and module suppliers and review the technology mix needed to support 5G (Bulk Silicon, SiGe, GaAs, RFSOI, GaN,...) both at Telecom Infrastructure level and Handset level.
Claire Troadec is Director of the Power & Wireless Division at Yole Développement (Yole), part of Yole Group of Companies. These activities are covering power electronics, batteries & energy management, compound semiconductors and emerging materials and RF electronics. Based on her valuable experience in the semiconductor industry, Claire is managing the expansion of the technical and market expertise of Power & Wireless team. Daily interactions with leading companies allow these analysts to collect a large amount of data and cross their vision of market segments’ evolution and technology breakthroughs. In addition, Claire’s mission is focused on the management of business relationships with leading companies of this sector and the development of market research and strategy consulting activities inside the Yole group. Claire Troadec holds a Master’s degree in Applied Physics specializing in Microelectronics from INSA (Rennes, France). She then joined NXP Semiconductors, and worked for 7 years as a complementary metal-on-silicon oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process integration engineer at the IMEC R&D facility. During this time, she oversaw the isolation and performance boosting of CMOS technology node devices from 90 nm down to 45 nm. She has authored or co-authored seven US patents and nine international publications in the semiconductor field and managed her own distribution company before joining Yole Développement in 2013.