Will 5G Technology Save the Semiconductor Industry in 2020?

Read 5 predictions for the 5G rollout in 2020 and its impacts on the semiconductors industry now.
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AUSTIN, Texas - Dec. 24, 2019 - PRLog -- Worldwide semiconductor sales fell to $409 billion in 2019; that's down by 12.8% over 2018. Memory device sales, especially DRAM and NAND flash memory, dropped the most (down 33% from the previous year), followed by analog and logic devices (down 4.3%).

2019 ends on a down note for the semiconductor industry, according to the industry trade group WSTS. The same industry experts see a reversal of fortune in 2020 — thanks to the rollout of 5G telecommunications networks around the world.

Global semiconductor sales are expected to grow by 5.9% in 2020, led by a resurgent demand for optical and logic devices.

Five Predictions For The 5G Rollout In 2020 And Beyond

Each new generation of wireless networks has helped drive demand for semiconductor products — for inspiration, we just have to look back to 2009 (when the current 4G network rolled out). But there are some critical differences with this, the fifth generation. We take a look at five ways 5G may be different in 2020 and beyond.

1. Whose 5G Ecosystem Is It Anyway?

For the first time, we're at the cusp of a major split in the worldwide market for mobile communications networks. The US government acted first, forbidding US companies from doing business with China's ZTE and later Huawei (and Hisilicon, Huawei's semiconductor company). The Chinese government has retaliated, banning government purchases of US computers, software, and telecom infrastructure products.

The bottom line? San Diego-based Qualcomm, a world leader in 5G handset chip design, may eventually face a reduced world market share if it stays cut off from the world's largest market for mobile phones — China. Huawei, and other Chinese tech giants (such as Alibaba) have vowed to use "non-USA DNA" chipsets and operating systems, which may put a dent in ARM and Intel-based chip sales, create a new competitor to the world's most popular phone operating system, Google's Android, and leave an $11 billion crater in the pocket of American tech companies.

2. Who Will Manufacture The Chips And Network Infrastructure For 5G?

Who will benefit the most from the American vs. Chinese trade dispute?

Some speculate the answer is the Taiwanese semiconductor industry, which may end up producing both "American" and "de-Americanized" semiconductor products.

Other companies, such as Nokia and Ericsson, may also benefit from a 5G ecosystem split, as countries (such as Mexico, Germany, and the UK) weigh the risks of angering Washington by deploying 5G networks based on kit from Huawei.

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Mehmet Atesoglu
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