5G infrastructure expected to drive the growth of passive components market 

A revolutionary improvement of speed of communication between devices and networks. That’s the impact of 5G — and it presents the electronics industry with new growth opportunities.    5G will enable wide-scale adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous driving, and Machine-to-Machine (M2M), fueling the growth of the passive components market in 2020 and beyond. 

Massive MIMO brings change to passive components market

Take, for example, the difference between massive MIMO — a  core technology of  5G networks —  and 4G base stations.  MIMO Multiple Input Multiple Output) features multiple antennas at both the source (transmitter) and the destination (receiver)or wireless communications. ” While 4G base stations typically use a small number of antennas, ranging from four to 16 units, the 5G era brings an antenna array, which could carry as many as 128 to 256 antennas.   a. By 2021, MIMO installations are expected to grow to approximately 9 million

Value of RFFE to increase in 5G smartphones

The MIMO system, in turn, means the 5G smartphone will be built to accommodate a whole new set of requirements. For perspective, let’s look again at current 4G smartphones They use one transmitting antenna module and two receiving antenna modules. Foran iPhone X, the total value of its Radio Frequency Front-End (RFFE) module is around $16.6. In contrast, 5G smartphones twill need to support at least two new frequencies of n77 and n79, which require additional receiving and transmitting modules. This will increase the total value of the RFFE module in a 5G smartphone to between $26 and $33 based on the design.

Next step: Safeguarding against component shortage 

Growing demand for RFFE modules will, consequently, increase the number of passive electronic components in 5G smartphones. Take a look:

4G smartphone5G smartphone*
Power Amplifiers24-5
Bulk Acoustic Wave Filters1224-30
MLCC550 to 900More than 1000

*estimated number based on Broadcom AFEM 8050 module

Is your business ready to handle such a drastic increase in demand? We all recall the widespread passive component shortage in 2018 that created so many challenges for OEM and EMS companies. With smartphones and other devices moving over to 5G, it is highly likely we will see another wave of passive component shortage in 2020. 

What can you do to prepare? Don’t wait to develop a proactive strategy with suppliers and service partners. Seeking out a partner aligned with major global suppliers is the best safeguard against a potential component shortage and capitalize on the thriving market for passive components. 

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