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GaAs chipmakers urged to get multifunctional

GaAs market analysts say that with demand from cellular backhaul applications flattening out, device makers will have to develop multi-functional chips or modules to beat off the competitive threat from silicon.

The market for GaAs chips used in cellular backhaul applications "“ the high-frequency point-to-point links between individual base stations and a central controller station "“ will peak next year.

According to a new report published by Strategy Analytics' GaAs and compound semiconductor service, demand will flatten out after that as growth in unit shipments slows.

Thanks to the rapid growth of cellular subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region, there will continue to be demand for network infrastructure build-out. And although very high frequency radios operating at 60 GHz and more have now been developed, traditional frequency bands are set to continue their domination of this particular sector.

Asif Anwar, the author of the market analysis, said that GaAs chip manufacturers will need to innovate to stay ahead of the increasing threat from silicon technologies:

"We believe a move towards packaged parts and multifunctional chips and/or multi-chip modules will help GaAs companies offset competitive threats," Anwar said.

The increasing capacity required to transmit data-heavy applications such as television clips over cellular networks should also provide an advantage for those offering more advanced GaAs chip technologies capable of handling large amount of data.

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