Chinese vendors, led by Huawei Technologies and ZTE, have become more active in the RF power amplifier market with significant effect on the device market. “This is both an opportunity and a threat,” says ABI research director Lance Wilson. “The Chinese position in the RF power amplifier and device market is not insignificant. Growing Chinese participation is an addition to the markets, but at the same time represents competition for incumbent vendors.”

Much of the Chinese output is directed at the domestic market, where it will reduce earlier demand for equipment sourced from elsewhere. The start of TD-SCDMA network deployment in China will also contribute to overall market size.

A recent ABI Research report on this market points to two significant factors that have changed the market landscape in recent months: the entry of Chinese vendors and the growing use of high efficiency amplifier designs. Moreover, updated ABI Research forecasts for the global RF power amplifier market indicate that while the total available market for these essential cellular base station equipment components is shrinking, the decline is not as severe as had been feared.

“The RF power amplifier market for this segment is still showing a downward trend,” explains Wilson, “but the good news is that the descent is not as precipitous as originally thought. Though basic GSM is slowly declining, EDGE has satisfied the data needs of many users to a greater extent than anticipated. Many operators are becoming more wary of big 3-G related spending. The result is that such GSM-based systems have enjoyed a longer life cycle, which in turn stretches out the growth period of 3-G. This has a direct impact on what happens in the power amplifier and devices market.”

High efficiency RF amplifiers for wireless infrastructure are starting to enter the mainstream and will be seen in increasing quantities over the next five years. Greater amplifier efficiency means lower base station costs in initial price, lower power consumption and operating cost.

The recent ABI Research report, “RF Power Amplifiers: Equipment and RF Power Device Analysis for Cellular Mobile Wireless Infrastructure Markets,” examines amplifier cost, size and efficiency, illuminates the relationship of power semiconductors to RF amplifiers and presents quantitative market forecasts through 2012 for both segments. It forms part of three ABI Research Services: RF Power Devices, Wireless Semiconductors and Wireless Infrastructure.

ABI Research is a market research firm focused on the impact of emerging technologies on global consumer business markets. Visit for more information