Demand for cellular modems that provide wireless connectivity to mobile computers is soaring on the back of 3G network deployments.
Data from ABI Research reveals that cellular modem sales, including PC Cards, Express Cards, USB modems, embedded modems and 3G/Wi-Fi routers, increased more than 300 per cent in 2007.
The analyst firm forecasts that shipments of cellular modems will exceed 200 million units by 2013.
"2007 saw cellular modems established as an important connectivity technology for operators and mobile customers," said ABI principal analyst Dan Shey.
However the growth seen in 2007 did not only benefit traditional market players such as Option Wireless, Sierra Wireless and Novatel, according to ABI.
Asia-Pacific vendors including Huawei, ZTE and C-motech now control the majority of worldwide sales and bring a completely new set of capabilities to the marketplace.
"The leading Asia-Pacific cellular modem vendors have robust portfolios of other telecoms products and services," said Shey.
"This positions them to compete for operator sales at a very different level, and is forcing changes to incumbent modem supplier business models."
The analyst noted that the traditional buyers of these devices have been enterprise customers, but that operators have expanded their portfolio of mobile broadband price plans, opening up the market to SMB and consumer demand.
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