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New IDC Forecast Sees a Global Increase in Communications Processor Revenues

By Frank Griffin August 15, 2014

Communication processors are processors optimized specifically to support communication systems. Based on the system, whether it is wired or wireless, they exist in a wide variety of forms on the physical layer, the medium, access, control layer, or the network layer in the communication system. The processors can be applied to end system such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. The market for these processors is increasing as the adoption rate of smartphones, tablets and other communication devices continues to increase.

 A new report by International Data Corporation (IDC) has issued a forecast for the global growth of communication processor revenue to increase at 5.8 percent CAGR over the next five years. According to the report, this will follow the 8.8 percent growth of 2013 in the market, which was responsible for $1.8 billion in revenues.

The top market position in 2013 was held by Freescale with its Power Architecture and ARM-based SOCs taking 37.7 percent of the overall worldwide communications processor revenue share, followed in second place by Intel with 25.2 percent and its x86 standalone MPUs, and in third place with Cavium's MIPS architecture-based SOCs with 13.3 percent.

The forecast predicts the growth for 2014 will be only 5.1 percent, with the market expanding at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8 percent through 2018. The report accounts the decline of the overall communications semiconductor market due to a slowdown on infrastructure capex spending, which began in the fourth quarter of 2012 and through the first quarter of 2013, reversing during the rest of 2013.

The job growth in the United States, stabilization of sovereign debt in Europe, and increased infrastructure spending will see the market poised for strong growth for the rest of 2014

"The communications processor market is on a steady growth path. The emergence of open standards is causing disruption in the traditional OEM, ODM, semiconductors, and embedded software value chain, creating new opportunities for merchant silicon vendors to displace ASIC-based proprietary solutions," said Abhi Dugar, research manager, Semiconductors at IDC.

Dugar added, a new breed of multicore communications processors, SOCs, and standalone MPUs implemented in 28nm process technology and below entering the market place are providing better network visibility, manageability, and scalability in support of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) adoption by cloud service providers, web service providers, and telecom network operators.

He believes this, "Secular multi-year trend will continue to drive the communications processor market forward over the next five years."

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing Writer

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