4.5G and 5G Smartphones: The RF Challenge Image

4.5G and 5G Smartphones: The RF Challenge


This Transformative Horizon report explores the impact that the mobile industry’s move to 4.5G and 5G networks will have on the RF front-end (RFFE) in smartphones. It explores how greater RFFE integration will be required to meet the complex system challenges posed by these next-generation networks, while handset vendors will need to ensure that their smartphones are capable of integrating these high-end technologies without compromising time-to-market, price, performance, or their industrial design. 

The report reviews the changing face of the RFFE, using some key smartphone models and teardown analyses, and outlines the impact that higher network speeds, multiple carrier aggregation (CA), MIMO, antenna tuning, envelope tracking, and antenna diversity will have on the RF system and how smartphone vendors will need to react to this increased complexity. It looks at the key role RF component manufacturers will play under this scenario and how the competitive landscape is changing, both in terms of innovation and integration seen in their physical RF modules and at a company level, where there is a defined need to engage in collaboration and/or acquisition to create enhanced RF systems level integration. 

Additionally, potential innovation killers and opportunities are included, with an assessment of the main companies and joint ventures that are poised to lead change in the market, while recommendations and reactions focuses on RFFE component integration, silicon suppliers and next-generation technologies. Global forecasts to 2022, sizing the revenue opportunity for the RFFE market by component type, and smartphone technology groupings are included with expectation that these will become more granular in future report iterations. 

Table of Contents:

  • Outline of Innovation
  • Innovation Importance
  • Companies at Risk and Those with Opportunity
  • Potential Innovation Killers
  • Recommendations and Reactions
  • Forecasts