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Intel Unveils 5G Chips: Should QRVO, AVGO, XLNX Take Note?

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Intel’s INTC latest 5G offerings are expected to intensify competition in the 5G chipset market. With this move, Intel is taking the fight to other companies providing 5G infrastructure offerings including Xilinx XLNX, Broadcom AVGO and Qorvo QRVO.

The chipmaker recently rolled out Atom P5900, a system-on-a-chip (SoC) based on 10 nanometer (nm) technology, for wireless base stations aimed at accelerated deployment of 5G networks. The latest SoC supports low latency and high bandwidth to power 5G base stations.

The company also unveiled new 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors that support network transformation, and are integrated with hardware-enhanced security and embedded encryption accelerators. Per Intel, the new processors offer 36% faster performance on average compared with Xeon Gold processors.

Moreover, Intel announced Diamond Mesa, a structured ASIC, and Ethernet 700 Series Network Adapter, an Ethernet NIC, to support 5G network deployments.

Prospects of 5G Infrastructure Domain Appear Bright

Post the divestiture of majority of its 5G smartphone modem business to Apple AAPL, Intel, currently a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company, is focused on enhancing 5G network infrastructure-based business.

Further, the company is evaluating prospects in 5G for IoT and data center, considering the significant demand of the technology in high growth domains.

The chipmaker sees significant opportunity in 5G wave-driven silicon-based network infrastructure market, and envisions being the top technology provider in base stations by 2021.

Per Intel, silicon-based network infrastructure market is expected to grow to $25 billion by 2023, and 5G base stations are projected to reach 6 million by 2024.

Moreover, 5G infrastructure and market is expected to witness a CAGR of 67.1% to reach $47.78 billion by 2027, per a Research and Markets report. Further, according to Verified Market Research report, the global 5G chipset market is valued at $1.96 billion in 2020. The market is projected to reach $21.87 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 44.1% during 2021-2026.

According to a report by Dell’Oro Group, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) with Cloud-Native Network Functions (CNFs) is anticipated to grow to 90% by 2024. The ongoing transformation of core network deployments to virtualized networks is expected to favor prospects of Intel’s latest processors.

However, it would be foolish to ignore the efforts of other semiconductor players in bringing 5G mainstream in 2020.

Qorvo is currently supplying products for more than 20 5G field trials. The company has introduced Front-End Modules (FEMs) that can function on both pre-5G and 5G architecture. Its GaN technology also enables FEMs to support the emerging 5G infrastructure.

Qorvo recently unveiled gallium arsenide (or GaAs) FEM, QPF4010, to aid 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) base stations in supporting additional capacity.

Qorvo, Inc. Price and Consensus

Qorvo, Inc. Price and Consensus

Qorvo, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Qorvo, Inc. Quote

In the last reported quarter, the company increased shipments of 5G massive MIMO infrastructure solutions to various OEMs. Notably, the company commenced shipments of BAW filters to a top-tier infrastructure OEM supporting China Mobile’s 5G small-cell deployments. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Broadcom’s growing presence in the networking chip market cannot be overlooked. The company’s robust switch chips are utilized by networking equipment providers including Arista ANET. The company is benefiting from strong demand for wireless solutions and expansion of product portfolio.

The company, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2, boasts of a robust 5G switching portfolio that includes six devices — Monterey, Quartz, Qumran2a, Jericho2, Jericho2c, and Ramon. The devices are designed to meet high-performance requirements of new Ethernet-based 5G New Radios and base stations.

Xilinx’s ongoing transition from a FPGA provider to an all-programmable devices producer holds promise. Its expanding product portfolio, which includes the Zynq RFSoC platform, is aiding it counter competition from the likes of Intel.

The company’s 16-nm RFSoC Silicon In-house family of products, offer a superior architectural solution to 5G wireless with integrated RF-class analog technology. Further, 7nm ACAP Versal platform is expected to be a game changer.

The growing usage of Zynq RFSoCs and ACAP products for 5G deployments by both basebands and radios is a positive for this 5G chip player. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Presence of Analog Devices ADI, which provides full signal-chain solutions to aid 5G operators to accelerate 5G network implementation, can’t be ignored.

The company, which currently carries a Zacks Rank #3, boasts of a robust portfolio of wideband RF transceivers with advanced radio SoC solutions to support 5G infrastructure deployment.

The company’s mmWave 5G chipset, aimed at accelerating design process for customers and reducing component count, in turn, improving time to market, holds promise.

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