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Industry News

Commercial Marketplace

May 1, 1997
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1996 US Factory Electronics Sales Rise Nine Percent

The Electronic Industries Association reports that 1996 US factory sales of electronics equipment, components and related products exceeded $409 B, a nine percent increase over 1995 results. The telecommunications sector enjoyed the largest yearly gain with sales of $63.5 B in 1996 compared to $55 B in 1995, marking a 15 percent increase. Computers and peripherals recorded the second largest growth as the sector's 1996 sales of $84.3 B were 13 percent ahead of its 1995 total of $74.5 B. Electronic components shared third place with the related products sector, each gaining nine percent. Electronic components' 1996 sales of $112.9 B rose from $103.8 B in 1995. The defense communications sector was alone in recording lower 1996 sales as its 1995 total of $28.3 B fell to $27.6 B in 1996, a reduction of two percent.

Sprint PCS Continues Its March to a Nationwide Digital PCS Network

Sprint PCS is adding six cities to its all-digital personal communications service (PCS) network, bringing the number of cities with coverage to 14. The additional cities joining the network that now stretches from Albany, NY to Fresno, CA include Salt Lake City, UT; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, OK; Little Rock, AR; Des Moines, IA; and Rio Grande Valley, TX.

Sprint PCS hopes to complete the installations by the middle of this year, bringing its service following the first phase of launch to 65 cities from coast to coast. Coverage will include 35 of the 50 largest US metropolitan areas. With recently acquired licenses, Sprint PCS and its affiliates plan to expand the network to cover nearly 260 million people in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Nortel and Lucent Technologies are providing the code-division multiple access network infrastructure equipment for the network.

GaAs Device Market Expected to Exceed $2 B by 2000

In its report, "GaAs IC and FET Market Review and Forecast 1996-2000," Strategies Unlimited forecasts that the world market for GaAs RF and digital semiconductor devices will exceed $2 B in 2000. This amount is based on an analysis of the demand for GaAs RF, microwave and digital devices in six sectors and 52 applications.

Communications applications such as wireless telephones, data and satellite communications are expected to represent 68 percent of the demand for GaAs ICs and FETs. Eleven percent of world production is forecast to be devoted to consumer applications such as satellite and cable television while computer networking is predicted to grow to nine percent of the market. Test and measurement uses will represent six percent of the total, and military and transportation applications will account for the balance of six percent. GaAs IC markets are forecast to continue to grow more rapidly than discrete device markets and increase their share of the total market from over 60 percent in 1996 to 75 percent in 2000. This growth is expected to be driven by two major factors, including wireless telephone production, which will increase its demand for GaAs analog ICs from $655 M in 1996 to $1.3 B in 2000, a compound annual growth rate of 19 percent per year; and GaAs digital IC sales in gigabit communications networks, which are forecast to rise from $115 M in 1996 to $327 M in 2000, an annual growth rate of 30 percent.

North American production, consisting principally of MMICs, accounted for an estimated 47 percent of worldwide GaAs device production in 1996. Japan, emphasizing discrete device production, followed at 44 percent and Europe plus small shares from Korea and Taiwan contributed seven percent. For additional information, contact Strategies Unlimited, (415) 941-3438, fax (415) 941-5120 or e-mail: strtultd@ix.netcom.com.

World Oscillator/RF & Microwave Semiconductor Industries Analyzed

In its recent report, "Quartz Crystals, Quartz Crystal Oscillators and VCOs: Frequency-control Markets, Competing Technologies and Vendors," Allied Business Intelligence examines market segmentation and applications, and profiles major vendors. The growing variety of applications for the components in communications and computer equipment is cited as a positive market factor, which will be offset partially by expected price declines over the next five years as the effects of competitive pressures and application-specific IC (ASIC) implementations are felt. The net result is a forecast for annual revenue growth to be held to less than 10 percent.

Higher value-added-type products such as oven-controlled crystal oscillators, voltage-controlled crystal oscillators (VCXO) and temperature-compensated crystal oscillators (TCXO), all of which start from lower bases, are expected to enjoy higher growth. However, these devices will also be affected eventually by new highly integrated ASICs and captive production situations. Chip sets already exist for Global Positioning Satellite, cellular telephones and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) receivers, which eliminate the need for separate TCXOs and VCXOs.

Currently, East Asia is the dominant producer of crystals and oscillators. Strong growth in unit volumes is expected but price pressures are forecast to keep revenues rather flat. North American suppliers are expected to continue to establish East Asian production facilities. The report suggests that the low cost operations in East Asia have effectively eliminated opportunities in other areas to manufacture for the crystal or oscillator markets. VCO suppliers are also forecast to benefit from greater unit demand for their products, but price erosion is expected to permit little revenue growth in that sector as well. The report examines major end users in the wireless communications, satellite, telecommunications, computer and network markets, and derives market trends from these studies. Profiles of more than 70 oscillator suppliers are also provided with information regarding sales, employees, product breadth, key personnel and applications.

In related news, Allied Business Intelligence's recent report, "1997 Competitive Analysis of RF and Microwave Semiconductors: Manufacturing and Distribution Trends," analyzes the market's products, distribution, technology and applications, and profiles its major suppliers. The report characterizes the RF/microwave semiconductor sector as a $2 B market dominated by silicon processes for the production of discrete devices and poised for strong growth. Consumer demand for portability is forecast to have the strongest effect on the market in the near term. While that demand is expected to fuel an annual growth of 35 percent for cellular-type applications, revenue from semiconductor sales for those applications is expected to grow at only half that rate. The more highly integrated semiconductor circuits, which will evolve in response to equipment manufacturers' demands, will carry higher unit prices than today's circuits. However, the circuits' value is expected to be less than the sum of the values of the discrete components and ICs being replaced.

GaAs and silicon carbide components are expected to gain significant shares of the market as higher frequency equipment is employed. Components based on these technologies are estimated to have approximately 30 percent of the present market and are forecast to expand that share gradually over the next few years. Overviews of principal applications expected to have major impact on the RF/microwave semiconductor markets include digital cellular and PCS with 25 percent annual growth, DBS with a five-fold growth from a current level of 2.2 million subscribers, Global Positioning System devices with an annual growth of 40 percent and Intelligent Transportation System initiatives.

More than 50 profiles of semiconductor producers and major distributors list product lines, customers, distribution areas, financial and sales highlights, and corporate strategies. For more information on the studies, contact Allied Business Intelligence, (516) 624-3113, fax (516) 624-3115 or check the Web site at http://www.alliedworld.com/.

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