5G Fosters the Development of PCB Industry
With the escalating upgrade of intergenerational communication, 4G has gone into the post-cycle, 5G will foster a further development to PCB industry and prosper the PCB market.
4G network has basically globally covered, and operators entered the 4G post-cycle. By the first half of 2017, the total number of 4G base stations in China reached 3.41 million with 885 million of 4G users and 65% penetration rate.
Capital expenditures have periodically changed with the escalation of communications technology. Global operators' capital expenditures have been increasing year by year since 4G commercial use in 2010, reaching a total annual investment of 197 billion U.S. dollars by 2015. China's 4G capital expenditures achieved the highest growth rate of 30% in 2013 and the largest investment of 438.6 billion yuan in 2015, then fell 19% to 356.2 billion yuan in 2016, and the investment budget in 2017 continued to fall by 13% to 310 billion yuan. It is expected that from 2018 to 2019, operators' capital expenditures will be driven by 5G.
5G RF front-end mainly includes antenna elements, PCBs (printed circuit boards), filters, PA (power amplifier) and other core components. Due to the widespread use of massive MIMO and active antenna (AAU) technologies, there are three major changes to the RF front-end: an increase in the number of radio frequency channels leads to a doubling of the number of radio frequency devices; rising value of RF devices; RF front-end internal value shifts to the PCBs (high-frequency CCL), filters, power amplifiers (PA).
According to our estimates, 5G RF front-end market size can reach 4 times than that of the 4G, with a total investment of over 250 billion yuan.