The USB ‘dongle’ is still the most popular form factor for mobile broadband modems, according to a new report from ABI Research. It estimates that 110 million USB units will ship worldwide this year, contributing to a total of 150 million mobile broadband modems that are expected to be shipped worldwide in 2011. That’s 46% growth year-on-year.
Jeff Orr, group director for mobile devices at ABI Research, said “USB dominates the market due to its relatively low cost and easy use, as it’s often used as an after-market upgrade for computer owners. As more 3G networks come online and as new 4G ones emerge, this lends itself toward an upgrade market opportunity for USB modems, followed by new PC purchases with an embedded modem module.”
Embedded modem modules are the second largest market share, with an anticipated 30 million units being shipped in 2011 to device manufacturers. Mobile hotspot routers (such as ‘MiFi’ devices) will grow at 50% year-on-year, while the smallest sector is PC Cards.