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Components | April 23, 2012

A USD 8bn Wireless Connectivity IC market bonanza

​Wireless connectivity ICs totaled more than $8 billion in 2011 and will produce revenues close to $40 billion for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, and combo ICs through 2016.
Broadcom continues to dominate, owning 30% of the worldwide connectivity IC shipment volume due to its success in the rapidly growing combo IC market. Qualcomm’s market share reached almost 20% due to its strength in the GPS market. CSR, with its acquisition of SiRF technologies, is still a major presence in the worldwide market, despite losing its leading position in the Bluetooth market many years ago. Texas Instruments is in fourth position, narrowly behind CSR with 10% share, and is another company benefiting from entering the combo IC market early.

“The overall market saw strong growth in 2011,” says Peter Cooney, practice director, semiconductors. “Attach rates for all technologies are increasing, leading to combo IC growth. The next challenge for IC vendors is integration into higher level SoCs.”

Mergers and acquisitions continue to shape the market. Qualcomm’s purchase of Atheros significantly improved its wireless connectivity offering and it is in excellent position to control the integrated platform SoC market it is developing to serve the burgeoning low to mid-end smartphone and media tablet markets. ‘If Qualcomm’s S4 platform dominates this market with integrated Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS, it is likely to be an increasing threat to the other suppliers such as Broadcom, CSR, and TI,” says Cooney.

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