By 2012, the total high-power RF semiconductor market will be nearing $1 B, reports a new study from ABI Research. But according to research director Lance Wilson: “The shape of the industry five years hence will depend on three critical questions. At the manufacturing level, will the introduction of gallium nitride and silicon carbide RF power devices mean the demise of Si LDMOS? With mobile/3G infrastructure markets in decline, will they continue to drive the RF power semiconductor industry as they have in the past? Will the market segments outside of wireless infrastructure shore up this market space?”

To answer these and other questions, ABI Research undertook a market sizing study for all RF power semiconductors with power outputs above 5 W, operating at frequencies of 3.8 GHz and below. (A later study will target those operating at higher frequencies.) The study sizes the RF power semiconductor market into six usage-based segments and 24 sub-segments, providing a highly detailed, market-driven analysis.

The six major segments include: wireless infrastructure, military, ISM (Industrial/Scientific/Medical), broadcast, commercial avionics and non-cellular communications. Each of these is subdivided into between two and six specialty segments.

The need for such a study arose, according to Wilson, because “This market has been overshadowed for many years by the wireless infrastructure sector. Now that new 3G/cellular wireless infrastructure deployments are declining, there is a paucity of information about how the rest of the industry is faring. This study puts wireless infrastructure, which is well understood, into the context of the rest of these markets.”

The new study, “RF Power Semiconductor Devices,” offers five-year detailed market forecasts for all major market segments and sub-segments, along with market share data for the major industry vendors, technologies and segments. It forms part of two ABI Research Services, the RF Power Devices Research Service and the Wireless Semiconductors Research Service.