Huawei hits mobile broadband card milestone
Published: 17 September, 2009
Carriers, particularly those in developed mobile markets, are using mobile data as the weapon of choice in their fight against the commoditization of voice and falling ARPU, and this has led to the aggressive promotion and subsidy of mobile broadband datacards and dongles, as well as laptops/netbooks with embedded 3G capability. Yesterday's revelation from Huawei that the company has now shipped over 60 million mobile broadband units worldwide, including datacards, dongles and embedded modules, across more than 133 countries highlights the pace at which this relatively young product market is growing.
Cellular networks capable of wireless data connectivity are now ubiquitous, and 3G is finally delivering on its promise of broadband data speeds over the air. At the same time, the growing popularity of mobile broadband laptops/netbooks, enabled by 3G datacards or embedded modules, is being driven by a variety of key demographics, including: certain residential consumers preferring the flexibility of wireless broadband over the wired alternative; prosumers who demand Internet connectivity whilst on the move; and enterprise users who require access to corporate files and services when travelling.
According to ABI Research, Huawei secured 55 percent of the global mobile broadband terminal market in 2008, solidifying its position as a clear leader in this field. The mobile broadband card market grew 10% in the first half of 2009, driven by increasing adoption of HSPA and demand for netbooks, according to Infonetics Research. Manufacturer revenue from mobile broadband cards is forecast to hit $8.4 billion worldwide by 2013. Between 2009 and 2013, worldwide carrier revenue from mobile broadband services is now forecast to more than double.
Several other vendors are benefiting from this booming market as well, including Sierra Wireless, ZTE, Novatel and Option. However, vendors like Huawei and ZTE have a strong advantage since they also manufacture infrastructure equipment and are often able to strike attractive deals with carriers which bundle both equipment and pre-orders for datacards. As mobile broadband spreads to developing countries, Huawei and ZTE are likely to improve their market share since they have both secured good traction with carriers in these markets.
In June 2006, Huawei unveiled the world's first plug-and-play USB modem E220, which revolutionised the traditional PCMCIA-based Internet access mode and opened up a new market for Huawei. In February 2008, the company expanded its mobile broadband market share with the launch of the E510, the first terminal to support mobile TV services. At the Mobile World Congress in 2009, Huawei demonstrated the world's slimmest wireless modem, E5, and released the E182E, the first HSPA+ mobile broadband.