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Cellular broadband chipsets boom through 2014

Posted: 14 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cellular broadband? mobile phone? wireless market?

The growth of the mobile phone market in 2009 to over 1.1 billion units reflect a similar rise in the market for cellular chipsetsthe semiconductor engines that enable every mobile phone to connect to one another. At the same time, more and more cellular chipsets are being used in non-mobile phone applications, such as mobile computing with notebooks, netbooks, industrial/machine-to-machine (M2M), automotive, health/medical and consumer devices such as eReaders, mobile Internet devices, gaming devices. While the portion of worldwide cellular chipsets used for these applications is currently small compared with the cellphone market, IDC forecasts significant growth in these cellular broadband applications through 2014.

"Cellular broadband chipsets can provide the all-important data connectivity to other devices, especially to the Internet, that consumers are increasingly demanding as they migrate from fixed/wired devices to mobile/handheld devices," said Flint Pulskamp, wireless semiconductor analyst at IDC. "There is strong appeal for real-time data connectivity and access not only in traditional computing devices like notebooks, but also in a number of emerging markets such as medical/health monitoring, industrial/M2M, as well as a growing array of consumer products such as eReaders."

Worldwide cellular chipsets will grow at a 9.3 percent CAGR on a unit basis from 2009 to 2014. While cellular broadband applications made up less than 7 percent of this unit volume in 2009, this market will grow at a 35 percent CAGR to account for over 16 percent of total chipsets by 2013, far outpacing the growth in the cellphone market.

While most cellular broadband chipsets have been consumed by industrial/M2M applications prior to 2008, portable PCs and mininotebooks (netbooks) will drive a majority of the segment growth going forward, followed by a variety of other consumer, health/medical and automotive applications.

Strong growth in cellular broadband, primarily driven by portable PCs, mininotebooks and MIDs/smartbooks will help accelerate the migration of this segment from 2G and 2.5G technologies to 3.5G and 4G technologies over the next several years. The rollout of Long Term Evolution will greatly encourage this migration starting in 2011.

The growth in cellular broadband applications will also drive growth for the design, manufacture, and certification of subsystem modules and will benefit leaders in this area such as Huawei, Sierra Wireless, Cinterion, ZTE, Option and Novatel.

A very few cellular chipset suppliers dominate the cellular broadband space today, and most are also leaders in the mobile phone space. A vast majority of the segment share is controlled by Qualcomm, ST-Ericsson, Infineon, and Icera, which all stand to benefit by the continued growth in this business.

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