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Qorvo, Inc.  (QRVO)
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Qorvo, Inc.

Business Description


Qorvo® is a product and technology leader at the forefront of the growing global demand for always-on broadband connectivity. We combine a broad portfolio of radio frequency ("RF") solutions, highly differentiated semiconductor technologies, deep systems-level expertise and scale manufacturing to supply a diverse group of customers in expanding markets, including smartphones and other mobile devices, defense and aerospace, Wi-Fi customer premises equipment ("CPE"), cellular base stations, optical networks, automotive connectivity and smart home applications. Within these markets, our products enable a broad range of leading-edge applications – from very-high-power wired and wireless infrastructure solutions to ultra-low-power smart home solutions. Our products and technologies help transform how people around the world access their data, transact commerce and interact with their communities.

Our business is diversified primarily across seven strategic end markets: mobile devices, defense and aerospace, CPE Wi-Fi, cellular base stations, optical, automotive connectivity and smart home. These markets compose the primary building blocks of the IoT.

Mobile Devices
In our largest market, mobile devices, the most significant trend today is the increasing demand for ubiquitous broadband mobile data. This is driven primarily by video, with data traffic for video exceeding data traffic for web browsing and voice. Compounding this, consumers want higher resolution screens and access to streaming media, real-time traffic/navigation, GPS, Bluetooth® connectivity and Wi-Fi. In response, leading smartphone providers are adding 4G LTE and 5G bands of coverage to their flagship devices to reduce development costs and enable larger, more concentrated marketing budgets in support of fewer models. They are also adding CA technology to enable simultaneous communication over multiple frequency bands. This helps network operators optimize spectral efficiency and provides an enhanced user experience for consumers. Both trends expand RF content and drive higher levels of integration, which can increase performance requirements for RF components and narrow the competitive field. We see these trends continuing, as consumers increasingly expect always-on, ultra-low latency, broadband connectivity and as smartphone manufacturers and network operators seek to enhance performance and the user experience generation-over-generation.


Defense and Aerospace
The global defense and aerospace industries are sharply focused on balancing cost, RF performance and power consumption. The trends toward phased arrays and higher frequencies of operation are expanding the market opportunities for monolithic microwave integrated circuits ("MMICs") and discrete PAs, LNAs, passive devices, die level solutions and multichip modules leveraging multiple semiconductor technologies and advanced packaging techniques. Additionally, as with all RF communications systems, spectrum is becoming increasingly crowded and requires interference-free connections which are addressed by premium filtering solutions. These factors continue to drive demand for increased reliability and performance to address current and next generation communications for defense and national security capabilities, both domestic and with international partners.

CPE Wi-Fi
In Wi-Fi markets, consumer and enterprise demand for faster data rates, the growth in connected users and the higher performance requirements of 802.11ac and 802.11ax mandate best-in-class RF solutions. Wi-Fi is continuing to proliferate within CPE, including routers, access points, set-top boxes and smart televisions, as well as in automobiles. As spectrum becomes more crowded, the demand for interference-free transmission and reception is expected to drive the demand for high performance filters in RF solutions for Wi-Fi equipment.

Cellular Base Stations
The widespread use of data-intensive applications has driven cellular operators to require more power-efficient designs and solutions that enable increased capacity from cellular networks. To meet network demand, network equipment manufacturers are using techniques such as CA, moving to new RF frequency bands that have wider channel bandwidths and incorporating cloud radio access networks, which use a virtual radio access technology and remote radio heads. As demand for data-intensive applications continues to grow, the next generation network, called 5G, is forecasted to begin commercial rollout in 2020. 5G networks will continue the progression of operating at much higher frequencies, likely at 28GHz and 39GHz. In the meantime, operators will continue to evolve the performance of their LTE networks and run field trials to prove out 5G technologies and solutions. The future trends in the base station market include implementation of Multiple Input Multiple Output ("MIMO") and small cells.

Optical
The optical market is comprised of traditional long haul, telecom network applications and hyperscale data center applications. Telecom applications typically involve high-speed networks of fiber optic cable to enable voice and data communications in a transcontinental, regional or city-wide area. Data center applications support the processing and routing of massive amounts of internet data traffic to, from and within hyperscale facilities used by Web 2.0 participants like Facebook, Google and Amazon in support of their proprietary, cloud-based applications. High-speed throughput, efficient power consumption and cost efficiency are key attributes of the hyperscale data center market.

Automotive Connectivity
The automobile is becoming a more connected device with the addition of multiple RF based connectivity solutions such as satellite radio, in-car infotainment and LTE connectivity solutions. Looking forward, new standards are expected to be deployed that will connect the car to other vehicles or to highway infrastructure. All of these applications create opportunities that will drive the need for RF solutions that will enhance passenger comfort, convenience and safety. Most of these applications require AEC-Q100 qualified solutions, which is the standard in the automobile industry. Additionally, in this market most of the communications devices will need to share frequency spectrum with either licensed or unlicensed users.

Smart Home
The smart home is characterized as a dwelling that contains devices such as sensors that detect light, motion or temperature, or whether doors are open, closed, locked or unlocked, and actuators to implement a command such as lowering the temperature or opening your garage door. Typically, these devices can be controlled via the internet, by a computer or phone or through a direct peer-to-peer connection such as a television remote control. The solutions often utilize industry open standard technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy ("BLE"), ZigBee, and Thread as well as proprietary solutions to link to a central gateway that connects to the internet.

Our semiconductor solutions serve RF, microwave and millimeter-wave applications. We believe our products deliver key advantages, as measured by size, weight, linearity, distortion, output power, power-added efficiency, selectivity, frequency control, and other critical performance metrics.

We utilize specialized substrate materials such as GaAs, gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN on SiC), silicon germanium (SiGe) and silicon for power amplifiers. We use silicon on insulator (SOI) for tuners and switches and silicon for controllers. Our filters use substrates made of lithium tantalate for SAW filters, lithium niobate for temperature compensated SAW filters (TC-SAW) and silicon for BAW filters. We use heterojunction bipolar transistor ("HBT") and pseudomorphic high electron mobility transistors ("pHEMT") technologies for our GaAS and GaN power amplifiers. We use solid mounted resonator ("SMR") technology to manufacture our BAW filters.

Mobile Devices
Qorvo’s MP product portfolio includes our RF Fusion™ and RF Flex™ product families. RF Fusion leverages Qorvo’s product and technology leadership, systems-level expertise and advanced integration capabilities to combine all major transmit and receive RF functionality in highly integrated, high-performance, split-band placements. Qorvo’s RF Flex modules leverage our deep systems-level expertise to integrate core cellular transmit and receive functionality in high-performance multiband PA modules and transmit modules. RF Fusion solutions support the industry’s most advanced smartphone architectures, and RF Flex solutions support cost-optimized performance-tier smartphone architectures.

Qorvo is a pioneer in envelope tracking ("ET") technology, which we incorporate into power management components and our most advanced PAs. We also offer ET-capable PAs for third-party power management components. Our ET technology enables us to track the envelope of high-speed modulation signals and adjust the PA in real time to maximize efficiency and maintain the requisite levels of linearity. This is increasingly necessary to maximize data rates and satisfy user expectations for battery life and case temperatures.

Our mobile product portfolio includes filters, duplexers, switches, multimode/multi-band PAs and transmit modules, RF power management ICs, diversity receive modules, antenna switch modules, antenna tuning and control solutions, and modules incorporating PAs, PADs, and S-PADs.

Historically, we have experienced seasonal fluctuations in the sale of mobile products, with revenue strongest in our second and third fiscal quarters and weakest in our fourth fiscal quarter.

Defense and Aerospace
Contractors serving the United States and other governments use our high performance and high reliability products for mission critical solutions across the military and aerospace industry. Our die-level integrated circuits and discrete components, MMICs and multi-chip modules are key components for radar, electronic warfare and communications systems. Program applications include major shipboard, airborne and battlefield radar systems as well as communications and electronic warfare. We supply a wide range of products for large-scale programs with long lead-times. Once a component has been designed into an end-use military application, it is generally used during the entire production life of the end-use system.

Our products for defense radar applications bring new capabilities to detect and neutralize threats against aircrews and shipboard and infantry forces around the globe. Our microwave PAs provide the power at the heart of phased array radar. These radars consist of large element arrays composed of many individual integrated circuits, with the capability to track multiple targets simultaneously. We are strategically teamed with top tier contractors to offer this type of capability to new domestic and multi-national production programs, along with retrofits of other essential tactical military assets with critical enhancements and service life extension capabilities.

In the defense communications field, we supply filters, amplifiers and other components for handheld and satellite communications systems. In addition, we use our packaging and integrated assembly expertise to speed designs, facilitate multi-chip package evolution and deliver cost-effective solutions.

We are the leading supplier of GaN-based products to global defense and aerospace markets and are directly engaged with the United States government, primarily through contracts with the Defense Advanced Research

Project Agency, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research, to develop next generation GaN devices for future high-power phased array radar, electronic warfare and communications systems. The DoD has certified our GaN fabrication and production capabilities at Manufacturing Readiness Level 9, the highest in the industry.

CPE Wi-Fi
We address the high performance requirements demanded in customer premises Wi-Fi equipment through our portfolio of differentiated products, including discrete high power amplifiers, and integrated front-end modules ("iFEMs") for mid and low power, and our discrete and integrated BAW filter capabilities. Our products primarily target high-end Wi-Fi market segments, including retail (routers, extenders and repeaters), distributed mesh solutions, enterprise, service provider and carrier grade Wi-Fi. Our solutions enable better home and business coverage with the faster and more reliable connections required for video streaming, augmented/virtual reality and high density user environments. We use our GaN and GaAs technologies to supply leading Wi-Fi chipset providers with highly integrated, power-efficient solutions and we use our premium filter technologies to provide coexistence and band-edge solutions to address interference issues due to spectrum crowding. This approach aligns with our key customers’ need for more highly integrated, cost-effective solutions to provide a high-quality user experience at affordable prices.

Cellular Base Stations
We offer a broad set of custom RF amplifier solutions, receive module technologies and premium filter solutions to the leading base station OEMs to address the current and future needs of this market. To address the increasing market demands for more power-efficient designs and increased network capacity, we offer transceiver products supporting LTE massive MIMO deployments, primarily in China and Japan. Our integrated solutions for these massive MIMO systems include switch-LNA modules, variable gain amplifiers and integrated PA modules. Our GaAs base station solutions offer differentiated low noise performance, while our GaN amplifiers combine high linearity and efficiency with high output power and low power consumption. We are a strategic supplier of transceiver solutions to base station OEM market leaders, and we expect to continue to grow these relationships with new product categories.

We are leveraging our legacy defense product capabilities across low frequencies up through millimeter wave to respond to the product demands of the next generation 5G networks for sub-6GHz and millimeter wave solutions. Our current products are embedded in ongoing 5G field trials, and we have multiple product development engagements with top OEMs to intersect network operators’ timelines for deployment of 5G networks.

Optical
We supply linear and nonlinear driver solutions and trans-impedance amplifiers (“TIAs”) to the optical market and have leveraged this market position by extending our product offerings to include TIAs for long haul telecom, metro and datacenter interconnect applications. These differentiated, value-added products balance performance with the cost per gigabit for our customers. Achieving this balance requires a mix of internal and external semiconductor technologies and innovative packaging. Technologies used for our optical products include GaAs pHEMT, Indium Phosphide ("InP"), SiGe and silicon. In addition, we were the first to offer optical drivers with surface mount packaging and we continue to innovate to create smaller products that consume less power and enhance throughput to address the 40G, 100G, 200G and beyond markets.

Automotive Connectivity
To address the growing demand for connected car solutions, including solutions for cellular LTE, Wi-Fi, and satellite digital audio radio service, we offer a product portfolio that includes differentiated BAW filters, LNAs, switches, PAs and LTE front end solutions, all of which meet or exceed the industry’s automotive level quality and reliability standards. Our BAW and SAW solutions address interference issues due to licensed and unlicensed frequency bands being contiguous or overlapping. We leverage our mobile and CPE Wi-Fi and cellular LTE product portfolios and other technology combinations to address the industry needs. We have products on multiple reference designs with key chipset makers to address future vehicle-to-vehicle communication requirements.


Smart Home
Our product portfolio for the smart home market consists of silicon CMOS SoC devices and the associated firmware and software to drive the radio functions and enable application software to interface with the SoC. To augment the SoC, we offer various configurations of filtering and amplification utilizing our extensive portfolio of filters, amplifiers and LNAs. Our solutions are vertically focused on applications that perform the functions of remote controls, and we provide support to our customers to enable development of application software to run on our platforms. Our solutions typically support open standard technologies such as BLE, ZigBee, and Thread. Our smart home product development efforts are focused on driving more functionality and system power savings features into our hardware and software architectures to address the needs of battery powered devices, primarily remote controls. We are also engaged with overall ecosystem providers to develop products beyond remote controls to address next generation smart home applications.

   

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