The market for RF front-end components was flat in 2018 and 2019 and will remain flat in 2020, according to Strategy Analytics.

Despite frequent claims by companies and analysts of unbridled growth in RF from 4G and 5G, Strategy Analytics argues that phone manufacturers resistant to higher cost components, trade tensions and an economic slowdown in China halted the growth of the RF components used in mobile phones and other user equipment.

“Market changes in 2018 and 2019 hit Skyworks the hardest, but Qorvo and Broadcom maintained sales of power amplifiers, filters and other front-end modules overall, while Qualcomm picked up some share with 5G design wins. At the same time, scores of new entrants, most of them in China, took some share, mainly in lower-end phones,” said Christopher Taylor, author of the report and director of the RF and wireless components practice at Strategy Analytics.

“With COVID-19, the outlook does not look any better for 2020. In addition to the pandemic, RF component suppliers have to continue to improve performance and develop new products to support higher frequency bands and the higher RF complexity of 5G devices,” said Stephen Entwistle, a VP at Strategy Analytics.

Strategy Analytics sees growth returning as 5G mobile device production volumes ramp and RF component costs begin to drop as they, too, ramp.

Strategy Analytics’ analysis and forecast is available in the report Power Amp and RF Front End Market Share and Forecast Update.