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The Development Opportunities Brought By The 5G Era To The PCB Industry
Jul 28, 2020

With the advent of the 5G era, micro-innovation of automotive electronics, consumer electronics, and upgrading of communication equipment, the PCB industry will maintain a boom in the next few years. According to Prismark's forecast, the global market will reach USD 71.761 billion in 2022. China's share of the total output value of the global PCB industry has risen from 31.18% in 2008 to 53% in 2018, with a market size of more than 32 billion U.S. dollars, becoming the largest country in the global PCB output value. According to relevant data, the global communication PCB market reached US$19.06 billion in 2018, accounting for about 30% of the total PCB output value. In recent years, the global base station PCB market space in the 4G era is about 5-9 billion yuan, accounting for communication PCBs. The ratio is about 5-10%.


Base Station PCB


With the advent of 5G, the PCB industry has ushered in another opportunity for leapfrog development. 5G's full-spectrum intervention, large-scale antenna array (MIMO) and ultra-dense networks will be the core technologies to realize 5G networks. These technologies also put forward new requirements and challenges for PCBs. First of all, the structure and function of the base station radio unit and antenna have undergone major changes, which are mainly manifested in the increase in the number of radio unit channels (8 channels increased to 64 channels), and the corresponding PCB area has increased; in addition, the RRU of 4G base stations has increased The structure of the antenna has evolved into the AAU structure of the 5G base station (RRU+antenna integration), and the corresponding PCB integration requirements are higher; again, in order to achieve ultra-dense network coverage, in addition to the spectrum application below 6GHZ, the 5G spectrum is used for hot spot coverage and The high-capacity and high-speed transmission 28G, 39G and other millimeter wave spectrum resources will be used in large quantities. Therefore, the core equipment, transmission equipment, and antenna/radio frequency equipment of the 5G network put forward very high demand for high-frequency and high-speed boards.


High Speed Multilayer Backplane


According to related calculations, a single 5G base station uses about 3.21 square meters of PCB, which is 1.76 times the consumption of 4G base stations (1.825 square meters). At the same time, because the frequency of 5G communication is higher, the demand for PCB performance is greater, so 5G base stations use The unit price of PCB is higher than that of PCB for 4G base station. Taken together, the value of PCB for a single base station in the 5G era is about three times that of the 4G era. In addition, due to the higher frequency spectrum of 5G, the coverage area of base stations is smaller. According to estimates, 5G base stations will be 1.2-1.5 times that of 4G base stations. At the same time, more small base stations are required. Therefore, the total base station brought by 5G The number will be much more than 4G. It is estimated that the newly added volume of 5G macro base stations during the peak period of 5G construction in 2023 will be 1.5 times that of the peak of 4G construction in 15 years. According to comprehensive calculations, the market size of the communication PCB industry for base stations in the next few years is about 5 to 26 billion. Compared with the market of 5 to 9 billion in the 4G era, the PCB industry for base stations is undoubtedly an explosive growth in recent years.


Flexible Board FPC


Overall, 5G network construction will bring high prosperity to the PCB subdivision areas: 4G/5G base station antennas with high-frequency multilayer hard boards, 4G/5G base station BBUs with high-speed multilayer hard boards, 4G/5G core network High-speed multilayer hard boards for servers and high-speed multilayer backplanes for data center servers are simply summarized as high-frequency and high-speed multilayer hard boards. Finally, we also need to consider the competitive landscape of the communications base station industry. Huawei continues its strong position, ranking first in the base station market, and 5G technology leading competitors for 2-3 years. After the large-scale popularization of 5G networks, mobile consumer electronics, which have experienced a long-term downturn in the late 4G period, are expected to usher in a recovery in the new 5G cycle, driving the boom in demand for flexible board FPC for mobile phones.


5G Core Network High PCB


In fact, since 2019 is only the starting point of 5G construction, as 5G construction continues to deepen in the future, the high point of demand release is expected to come in 2020-2021, and the high prosperity of the PCB industry chain is expected to last for 2 years.


5G Base Station Antenna Board

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