Wireless TowerShipments of mobile broadband modems and routers are stagnating this year as the wireless equipment market segment undergoes a period of transition, according to a new report from ABI Research.

Some $2.5 billion worth of mobile broadband modems and routers were shipped in 2013’s first half, according to ABI. For the year, global shipments of 3G and 4G modems and routers will total 92.1 million units, which “represents 0% growth year-over-year from the 92.4 million modems shipped during 2012.”

Offsetting the declining USB modem market is increased demand for mobile hotspot routers and embedded modem modules, according to ABI.

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“The use of USB for the addition of mobile broadband to portable computers has peaked,” ABI senior practice director Jeff Orr elaborated. “The diversification of choices for the new era of computing can be seen by these trends in modems sold through the aftermarket.”

Demand for tablets has been fueling the rise in demand for modem modules, |especially through the inclusion in select iPad models,” ABI analysts note. However, they add, “The latest generations of Apple’s slate devices have shifted to a modem built-on the system board instead of a separate module added during manufacturing.

“Mobile broadband modems are not a thing of the past,” Orr continued. “Commensurate with the evolution of computing, high-speed wireless connectivity is also undergoing change from a PC-driven market to a mobile computing opportunity.”

Demand for new mobile devices and systems with modems embedded, ABI adds, is “expected to increase as fast as 4G coverage expands into additional markets along with the adoption of mobile hotspot routers to support connections from existing Wi-Fi devices.”

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