Huawei and ZTE still dominate maturing modem market

Huawei and ZTE remain the strong players in the market for cellular modems, capturing even more of the increasingly mature market.

The USB format modems were the mainstay of mobile modems, despite popular opinion that embedded devices would take over.

According to analysis from ABI Research, the USB format is expected to reach 125 million shipments in 2013, which is contrasted to embedded modems which apparently slowed last year as compared to 2009.

It had been hoped that the modem-equipped netbook sales would drive the embedded market, though interest was less than was expected by vendors.

Now hopes are being pinned instead on tablets such as the iPad – which are expected to be more successful platforms for embedded modems.

“The intense interest in media tablet devices has increased hopes that embedded modules will have a higher or more significant attach rate than for other system type,” said ABI Research senior practice director Jeff Orr.

It has been said that ZTE and Huawei, taking time out from concocting ever more grandiose plans for political espionage or not, have begun making embedded modules now, with no other significant players in the market.

The market in general has been showing increasing signs of maturity with the USB segment commoditised as Huawei and ZTE gather more and more market share.

“One can tell a maturing market by the displacement of new product innovation by litigation,”Orr said.

“This was certainly the case in the mobile broadband modem market as vendors engaged legal teams to enforce patent and IPR ownership.”

“In December, for instance, Novatel Wireless filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Franklin Wireless and ZTE.”