Portio Mobile Factbook 2013
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PA (Power Amplifier) is the most key component in a mobile phone, which decides the voice quality, connection time, standby time and signal strength. PA has been produced by compound semiconductor manufacturers all along, including RFMD, Skyworks, Triquint, Anadigics, Avago and Renesas. Renesas still relies on the previous products form Hitachi Semiconductor, launched none of any new products.
RFMD has always been the NO.1, but the gap between RFMD and Skyworks is shrinking gradually. RFMD relies much on Nokia and Motorola. 75% sales of RFMD are contributed by those two. On the other hand, above 90% PA of Nokia is from RFMD. Skyworks’s main clients are Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG and Samsung. The world’s first 4G FEM containing PA was from Skyworks.
As the world’s largest GaAs OEM, Triquint is good at high-integration PA, as well as the PA packaging. The GSM PA with the smallest footprint and the world’s first FC packaged PA were both produced by Triquint. The main clients of Triquint are Samsung, LG, RIM and Apple.
Anadigics has a close relationship with Qualcomm, which is focused on the PA development for CDMA and WCDMA. Especially it has a high market share in CDMA market. Since its establishment, Anadigics has been expanding continuously, but during the past five years, only one year is profitable.
Avago was previously the semiconductor department (Agilent) of HP. Avago was the first one engaged in the WCDMA development. Though its sales did not look good initially, with the increasing popularity of WCDMA, the sales turned to increase rapidly.
In 3G era, RF system becomes more complex. Some smart mobile phones have as many as five PAs, one is for all GSM frequency bands, one is for WLAN and the other three are for three 3G frequency band separately. Considering the high integration is the further development focus for PA, Skyworks and Triqunit have the biggest potential. 4G has much higher requirements to PA such as higher T/PR and higher efficiency. No matter in 2G or 3G, PA sector is always monopolized by compound semiconductor manufacturers; the traditional silicon semiconductors have no chances. PA was usually GaAs HBT in 2G , in 3G, new entrants tend to InGaP HBT, Skyworks had already acquired the PA department of Freescale. In 2009, Skyworks launched the world’s first model FEM (SKY77445) focus on LTE/EUTRAN. Anadigics also has two models of PA for LTE/EUTRAN, both of them adopted InGaP.
Antenna switch is also has high entry barriers. Although its price is rather lower than PA and receiver, usually requiring SiP packaing and LTCC underlay. Globally, antenna switches are mainly supplied by Japanese vendors such as MURATA, Renesas and New JRC etc.