Extreme growth expected in millimetre wave market over the next five years

9 May 2001 News

The market for millimetre wave and other high-frequency applications is expected to grow from $3,5 bn in 2000 to $12,4 bn in 2005. "Growth in the millimetre/high frequency market will mainly be the result of broadband applications," says Andy Fuertes, Director of Communications Research of Allied Business Intelligence (ABI). "However, automotive applications will become a significant growth factor within the next 10 years as well." Though much of the millimetre market today is the result of traditional backhaul applications, growth will be driven by new applications such as LMDS, auto collision warning and broadband satellite systems.

According to a new study from ABI, in the short-term the key market will be LMDS. Though this application accounts for 9% of total revenues today, it is expected to approach 30% in the next five years, with considerable upside potential beyond this. Meanwhile, high expectations still exist for broadband satellite systems. GEO systems are deploying as early as 2002 that promise to bring broadband coverage to all parts of the world.

Auto collision systems continue to be deployed with great success by the trucking industry, reports ABI, leading to implementation in the passenger vehicle market. The primary barrier to mass-market implementation of such devices remains cost, but industry-wide efforts to reduce the cost of millimetre systems and the availability of low-price computing power are expected to result in vast cost reductions over the next five years. In total, shipments of microwave-based collision avoidance systems are expected to approach one million units in 2005, with considerably greater growth beyond this period, predicts the analyst group.

The backbone of all high-frequency applications remains GaAs semiconductors, says ABI. Together with breakthroughs in packaging and in volume, advances in the cost/performance radio of GaAs MMICs will enable all of the aforementioned applications and several others to reach significant volumes. The market for high-frequency GaAs devices, especially ICs, will show considerable growth as a result, exceeding $200m in 2005.

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