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You may find this article makes interesting reading: The current generation power amplifiers (PA) are ineffecitve for 3G base stations.

"Higher linearity requires the PA to be backed off more, or operated at much smaller power level than its maximum power capability, from the non-linear region of operation. This results in low output power and low efficiency. Hence, carriers have to use more base stations for the same coverage radius, or else have less capacity.

"In order for wireless data services to be economically successful, the power amplifiers used in base stations will have to perform better in terms of linearity, efficiency and cost. By having the correct fundamental characteristics in the transistor, many of these design techniques are simplified and costs are reduced.

"One approach is to use better materials for the power transistors themselves. Power devices made from gallium nitride, for example, improve the 1xRTT power amplifier architecture in two ways. First, through the wide bandgap nature of GaN, power transistors are inherently more linear than the LDMOS, GaAs or bipolar devices currently in use. This decreases the amount of linearity improvement (IMD cancellation) needed from the PA's feed-forward architecture. Second, the high power density of GaN allows for more output power per transistor, and thus a lower number of power transistors required for the main PA. The combination of lowered linearization requirements and decreased power transistor count yields higher operating efficiency for the 1xRTT PA, resulting in lowered operating cost for the base station. Additionally, higher efficiency operation also means the PA generates less heat, which lowers the air conditioning requirements of the base station site, further reducing base station operating costs. It also reduces the cost of deploying base stations significantly by reducing the required battery back-ups and power conditioning components."

The part about redeucing costs remains to be proven, but SiC and GaN have the potential, if the cost and reliability issues can be addressed.

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