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Mobile Broadband Routers are Primed for Growth

In 2015, shipments of fixed wireless terminals (FWT) and cellular routers will total nearly 13 million, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

Their research included market analysis for industrial terminals, business gateways, telephony adaptors -- all relatively mature markets showing stable modest growth -- and the newest market segment, mobile broadband routers, which will contribute the greatest increase in shipments.

"While they share underlying technologies, these devices or applications perform different roles and are used in diverse environments," says M2M practice director Sam Lucero.

Industrial terminals, as machine-to-machine devices, benefit from the growing business and government interest in telemetry and telematics. Business gateways now offer viable alternatives to DSL-based services and are increasingly used in remote branch offices.

Telephony adaptors connect local analog voice phone systems to the world via a cellular network -- the Chinese government is particularly interested in their use to extend telephony services to rural areas.

ABI Principal analyst Jeff Orr adds, "Mobile broadband routers allowing multiple devices to connect from anywhere may be found in both consumer and business contexts. Businesses are already familiar with wired business continuity and redundancy methods. Now devices have grown wings, becoming mobile broadband routers. This segment is starting from practically zero, and its top is not yet in sight."

To reach full market potential, ABI recommends that:

- Cellular embedded module vendors should seek new application opportunities in other FWT and M2M market segments.

- Business gateway vendors should focus on data connectivity rather than voice connectivity.

- Developers of mobile broadband hotspot routers must understand early-adopter markets.

- Industrial terminal vendors should offer platforms that include cloud computing software delivery models.

- Mobile network operators should reconsider how pervasive Wi-Fi technology enables new subscribers and welcomes multi-device users.

- FWT and cellular broadband router vendors should consider entry into the business gateway market.

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