Intel accelerates construction of new Arizona fab
In pursuit of expeditiously actualizing its IDM 2.0 strategy, Intel, in 2021, resolved to substantially bolster its production capabilities. The tech giant earmarked an estimated $20 billion to inaugurate two semiconductor fabrication facilities within Arizona’s Octillo precinct, laying the foundation for next-generation EUV production lines dedicated to the Intel 20A and Intel 18A processes. It is anticipated that these novel fabs, christened “Fab 52” and “Fab 62,” will commence operations by 2024.
According to a report from SeekingAlpha, Intel’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, recently articulated the company’s zeal in hastening the construction of the new fabs in Arizona, hoping to expedite the offset of development costs for the Intel 20A and Intel 18A processes. The Intel 18A process is poised to launch in the latter half of the ensuing year. Gelsinger touted that Intel Foundry Services (IFS) clients harbor profound confidence in this technology, with one particularly significant client advancing a hefty sum to secure production capacity ahead of schedule.
While Gelsinger remained reticent about the identity of this client, speculations are rife that it might be Ericsson or MediaTek. Only last month, Intel announced a strategic collaboration with Swedish telecom equipment behemoth Ericsson, aiming to leverage the Intel 18A process and manufacturing prowess to craft bespoke 5G chips for Ericsson, thereby enhancing the next iteration of 5G infrastructure services. In the preceding year, Intel proclaimed a strategic alliance with MediaTek, optimizing a version on the 22FFL process node for cost-efficient and low-power chips, known colloquially as the “Intel 16” process, to fabricate an assortment of chips for MediaTek’s myriad of intelligent edge devices.
It’s incontrovertible that substantial prepayments from prominent clients will catalyze the construction velocity of Intel’s new fabs. Concurrently, Intel is in the throes of seeking government subsidies. Given pertinent stipulations mandating annual audits of project expenditures, Intel appears inclined to accelerate equipment installation, thereby securing more immediate and expansive governmental fiscal backing.