LONDON The mobile broadband modem market in Europe, including USB modem devices, PC Cards, ExpressCards, and internal cellular modems for laptops and mini-laptops, reached around 10.5 million units last year, more than doubling from 4.3 million in 2007.
According to market research group Telecompaper, (Houten, the Netherlands) the aggressive entry by Chinese players Huawei and ZTE has had a significant impact in penetration rates.
The researchers say demand was fuelled by declining prices, both of modems and packages offered by operators, heavy promotions, improved performance and consumer-oriented packages including free USB modems with mini-laptops.
Telecompaper estimates there will be around 18.3 million mobile data modem subscribers in Western Europe in 2009, which represents about 3.6 percent of the total mobile subscriber base.
Last year, around 62 percent of Western Euroean mobile data modem subscribers were situated in the U.K., Germany and Italy.
"Growth in 2009 is expected to be tempered due to the economic uncertainty," said Alejandra van de Roer, Telecompaper research analyst.
"All traditional players in this market segment are feeling the impact of the softening economy, as seen by the decline in recently reported first-quarter revenues. Nevertheless, over the next five years, overall demand for mobile broadband modems will continue and see a compound annual growth rate of 19 percent, reaching shipments of 25 million units by 2013."
Last year, the USB modem form factor became the most popular method for connecting a laptop to the internet. It will continue to show stable, but slower growth during the forecast period, said van de Roer.
Embedded modems for laptops are expected to exceed the number of external modems by 2012.
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