Akoustis Technologies, Inc. an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) of patented bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced its first commercial design win for XBAW™ filters in 5G network infrastructure and first volume shipment to a tier-1 small cell customer in the March quarter.
Akoustis’ XBAW™ filters have been qualified in the initial build of 5G small cell base station systems for characterization and final customer acceptance. Akoustis completed first volume shipments in the March quarter and expects to increase shipments against the current commercial volume order during the June quarter. Upon expected contract award, this tier-1 OEM plans to ramp volume production in the September quarter. This represents the first design win of XBAW™ filters outside of the military/defense market and the first volume shipment of filters for the 5G small cell network infrastructure market.
In addition to this initial RF filter, Akoustis has completed development for a second 5G filter band and expects to receive a second volume order from the same customer by the end of the June quarter. Both filters operate in the sub-6 GHz, ultra-high frequency bands used for 5G networks and are initially targeting the rapidly growing market in Asia. XBAW™ filters are uniquely suited to serve the 5G network infrastructure market given the ability to handle high frequency, wide bandwidth and high power.
Jeff Shealy, founder and CEO of Akoustis stated, “Akoustis benefits from its IDM business model during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as we control our supply chain to produce our XBAW™ RF filters. Through a combination of remote work authorization, work site isolation from visitors, expanded shift operation and individual discipline, we are supporting social distancing while maintaining a highly productive work environment as we have moved to two shifts in our NY Wafer Fab. Overall, we continue supporting product R&D and customer shipments while managing delays from our component suppliers and offshore packaging supply chain.”
Mr. Shealy continued, “Our first 5G design win and commercial shipment represents an enormous commercial milestone, particularly given the challenging pandemic environment. This initial XBAW™ filter transitioned from design to design-win and first volume shipment in approximately six months, a testament to our team and their tireless efforts. We look forward to expanding our relationship with this customer leveraging our expanding 5G product portfolio in the coming months as they look to deliver small cell products with additional frequency bands.”
5G small cell base stations are low power, short range cellular transmission devices, capable of providing extended coverage for consumers, enterprises or to augment cellular coverage for 5G mobile service providers. They offer all the standard characteristics of a traditional tower base station and can handle high data throughput. 5G networks are expected to employ small cells in greater quantity than prior networks to help mitigate the shorter wavelengths associated with higher frequencies.
In a recent report, Zion Market Research estimated the global small cell 5G network market was valued at around $381 million in 2018 and is expected to reach approximately $3.5 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 37 percent between 2019 and 2025.
Akoustis’ high frequency, high performance XBAW process and filters are experiencing growing interest as the company prepares to enter production in multiple markets in calendar 2020, including 5G network infrastructure, high-band WiFi and the phased-array radar applications
Akoustis has introduced several new filters over the past twelve months including a 5.6 GHz WiFi filter, a 5.2 GHz WiFi filter, a 4.9 GHz band n79 filter for small cell network infrastructure, a 3.8 GHz filter and five S-Band filters for defense phased-array radar applications and a 3.6 GHz filter for the CBRS 5G infrastructure market. The Company is also developing several new filters for the sub-7 GHz bands targeting 5G mobile device, network infrastructure, WiFi CPE and defense markets.