|Macom thinks that the RF power market for 5G base stations will triple versus 4G . They are pushing GaN on silicon as the solution...interesting to hear a competitor say that the opportunity is much larger than can serviced by announced SiC fabs.|
Gallium nitride is acceptably a requirement for 5G base stations due to its superior efficiency and power density at the higher 5G frequency bands. Forecast from our top base station customers show a strong surge in RF power semiconductor content, both in dollars and especially in wafer consumption through 2023 for 5G. We're talking 3 times greater demand in 5G than the previous 4G LTE cycle. We therefore believe that the billion-dollar RF power market is poised to triple over the next few years on the back of GaN in 5G base stations.
Billion-dollar markets require high-volume semiconductor fabs. With the dramatic increase in wafer demand for 5G, it's imperative that the industry has high-volume sources for GaN production. Like STMicro's battery where we're sourcing GaN in Catania and Sicily. Catania is an order of magnitude greater in scale output than the world's largest compound semi fabs.
Upon entering the 5G cycle with ownership of the fundamental patents, we're now more excited than ever about this opportunity for the following reasons. First, we can see GaN on Silicon in existing high-volume silicon fabs to fulfill the 5G build-out. Even the most optimistic plans for GaN on Silicon Carbide factory expansion announced by silicon carbide leaders can service but a small fraction of that 5G demand. Second, the higher frequency bands or modest power requirements and targeted price points of 5G massive MIMO antennas line up ideally with the properties of GaN on Silicon substrates.
Third, this is a different class of product than the high-powered transistors that were used in 4G LTE. These are 5G MMICs that don't require the back-end operations infrastructure of incumbent LDMOS suppliers. So we're playing on home turf in 5G. MACOM's GaN on Silicon is fully proven, validated and qualified with our customer base and now enjoys executive level sponsorship for adoption. In some cases, we're already in production with initial programs.