Netscribes, Inc., a global data and insights provider to leading technology companies, has published its market and industry findings on radio frequency front end (RFFE) for smartphones in the 5G era. In this white paper, the research firm examines the RFFE industry at a strategic framework level, followed by an overview of relevant market size and various consumer factors which drive the smartphone industry in different geographic regions. 

RFFE is a critical component of a smartphone device that impacts the overall radio communication and user experience. Considering the recent growth in 5G commercialization and the need to suffice its high requirements,  RFFE for smartphones will also undergo changes right from design to manufacturing, assembly, testing and packaging. 

For instance, with the advent of the complex 5G frequency spectrum, RFFE packaging trends have shifted from placing discrete RF components inside the mobile devices to packaging, assembling and integrating them on a single substrate as much as possible. 

To undergo technological advancements on the material, architectural and design levels, the industry will require a high-level investment appetite, expertise, innovation and close collaboration with the suppliers and foundry players.

Moreover, smartphone OEMs, in their efforts to capture the market share of an already matured industry, tend to differentiate themselves from others by offering better specifications, sleeker form factor devices, superior quality and enhanced performance levels at various price points. However, with a clear consumer-oriented market strategy roadmap, the smartphone OEMs associate and collaborate with either RFFE integrated module or discrete components suppliers. 

“RFFE was always a secondary priority, after modems and transceivers, till a couple of years ago. This is evident from the fact that almost 80 percent of expert coverage emphasized modems while discussing the smartphones' transmission and reception design architecture,” says Saurabh Gupta, Innovation Research and Business Strategy expert at Netscribes. “However, the situation and dynamics have changed with the 5G commercialization and its large frequency bands supported (including the mmWave spectrum). It is not possible to effectively utilize the spectrum only with innovations in modem architectures. Hence, RFFE has gained a prominent spot now and will witness a huge spike in the innovation spree within the ecosystem.”

  • Readers of this whitepaper will be able to explore these key market and industry insights:
  • Smartphone industry supply chain - from raw material suppliers to telecom carriers
  • RFFE industry strategic analysis - Geopolitical divide, tech war, and Porter’s five forces analysis 
  • Smartphone purchase analysis - North America, Latin America, EU, China, APAC, MEA
  • RFFE market size and key trends
  • Breaking the conventional divide between the smartphone OEMs and chip suppliers
  • The road ahead for the RFFE industry.

It also delves into the major RFFE component insights and a geographical breakdown of key factors that can drive or change the market dynamics for 5G smartphone RFFE. This analysis will help OEMs build their market-specific strategies for the future 5G smartphone design and specifications.