Qualcomm has long been among the leaders for Radio Frequency Front End (RFFE) handset revenues but now it plans to expand those modules into a broader array of devices with the launch of products that support Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 6E, and the next-generation standard Wi-Fi 7.
In a mobile device, RFFE is essentially the pathway between the antenna and the cellular modem via the transceiver unit.
In a briefing with media and analysts, Christian Block, senior vice president and general manager, RFFE, Qualcomm Germany, claimed the vendor reached the top spot in RFFE revenues for handsets in fiscal 2021 (US$3.9 billion) and its goal is to become a leader across automotive and IoT markets (including Industrial IoT and Consumer IoT such as XR and wearables).
Block predicted 70 per cent of all vehicles would be connected by 2024 while wider IoT growth will be driven by 5G adoption, wireless tablets and PCs, XR devices, wireless fibre and the onset of Wi-Fi 7 technology.
The RFFE growth opportunity has a 12 per cent CAGR from 2021 to 2024, with revenues increasing from US$17 billion in the former year to $24 billion in the latter, Block noted.
Indeed, the US-based vendor foresees its connectivity chips playing a key role across all modem-to-antenna offerings.
Qualcomm claims its new Wi-Fi RFFE modules bring together the key components required between the Wi-Fi baseband chip and antennas to amplify and adapt signals for optimal wireless transmission. OEMs would use those modules to develop Wi-Fi client devices.
The new front end modules are being sampled by customers. Commercial devices featuring the new RFFE modules are slated to launch by the second half of this year.
Wireless industry analyst Jeff Kagan stated to Mobile World Live (MWL) that competition among RFFE vendors has been accelerating as 5G continues to move ahead, but it’s still very early years for the decade-long growth wave of 5G.
He noted while there are quite a few competitors in the RFFE space, some companies delve deeper than others. Qualcomm’s competition includes Samsung, MediaTek, Skyworks, Qorvo, Broadcom, Murata and Avago.
“Qualcomm does not waste time fooling around with segments that will not grow,” Kagan stated. “It has to be an important or sizable opportunity to get on their radar”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back