Over the first half of 2013 about US$2.5 billion worth of mobile broadband modems and routers for computing and consumer electronics connectivity have shipped. For the full year, market intelligence firm ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com) forecasts 92.1 million of these 3G and 4G modems and routers will be shipped worldwide to mobile network operators, retailers, and device manufacturers.
This represents 0% growth year-over-year from the 92.4 million modems shipped during 2012. The mix of modem form-factors is changing due to declining USB volumes, offset by increased mobile hotspot routers and embedded modem modules.
“The use of USB for the addition of mobile broadband to portable computers has peaked,” says ABI Research Senior Practice Director Jeff Orr. “The diversification of choices for the new era of computing can be seen by these trends in modems sold through the aftermarket.”
Modem modules continue to garner most use from tablet purchases, especially through the inclusion in select iPad models, though the latest generations of Apple’s slate devices have shifted to a modem built-on the system board instead of a separate module added during manufacturing.
“Mobile broadband modems are not a thing of the past,” adds Orr. “Commensurate with the evolution of computing, high-speed wireless connectivity is also undergoing change from a PC-driven market to a mobile computing opportunity.””
Purchases of new devices and systems with included modems are expected to increase as fast as 4G coverage expands into additional markets along with the adoption of mobile hotspot routers to support connections from existing Wi-Fi devices.