Mobile broadband modem, router market will decline slightly this year

ABI blames the decline on decreasing us of USBs in mobile devices
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The market for mobile broadband modems and routers will decline slightly this year, according to the latest stats from market research firm ABI Research.

In the first half of 2013, about $2.5 billion worth of mobile broadband modems and routers for computing and consumer electronics connectivity were shipped, says ABI.

For all of 2013, ABI forecasts 92.1 million units of 3G and 4G modems and routers will be shipped worldwide to mobile network operators, retailers and device manufacturers, down from 92.4 million units shipped during 2012.

The firm blamed the decline on decreasing use of USBs, offset to some degree by increasing use of mobile hotspot routers and embedded modem modules.

"The use of USB for the addition of mobile broadband to portable computers has peaked. The diversification of choices for the new era of computing can be seen by these trends in modems sold through the aftermarket," says senior practice director Jeff Orr.

Tablets, particularly certain iPad models, make up the bulk of modem module use. At the same time, Apple's latest generation of devices use a modem built-on the system board instead of separate modem added during manufacturing.

"Mobile broadband modems are not a thing of the past. Commensurate with the evolution of computing, high-speed wireless connectivity is also undergoing change from a PC-driven market to a mobile computing opportunity," adds Orr.

ABI expects sales of new devices and systems with included modems 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.

Intel recently announced that it's shipping its 4G LTE XMM 7160 modem to compete with top mobile chip maker Qualcomm.

"As LTE networks expand at a rapid pace, 4G connectivity will be an expected ingredient in devices from phones to tablets as well as laptops. Intel is providing customers an array of options for fast, reliable LTE connectivity while delivering a competitive choice and design flexibility for the mobile ecosystem," says Hermann Eul, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile and Communications Group.

For more:
- see the ABI release
- check out Intel's announcement

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