3G Embedded Modules To Close Price Gap On 2G

The GSM Association (GSMA) is calling for a shake-up in the wireless module market, arguing that 3G embedded modules generally boast lower long-term network costs than do the 2G modules which account for approximately 90 per cent of current devices, writes Martin Conway.

Working alongside consultancy Analysys Mason, the GSMA has produced a report based on interviews with key players in the embedded mobile sector, including Vodafone, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom.

With embedded mobile technology now substantially catching on across the healthcare, automotive, utilities and consumer electronics sectors, the GSMA believes that 3G multi-mode modules are set to close the cost gap with their 2G equivalents.

Michael O’Hara, GSMA chief marketing officer, comments: “Embedded mobile technology is set to enrich the lives of billions of consumers over the next few years, presenting an enormous opportunity to operators.” He lists vehicle accident recovery applications, remote health monitoring, smart utility meters and in-car entertainment systems as just a few of the potential services that could be realised through 3G modules, and predicts that demand for these services will push down the price of this latter technology.

Unsurprisingly, the GSMA also warns against stalling for time, arguing that should operators delay the decision to roll out 3G modules, they could face exorbitant costs in extensively replacing legacy equipment at a later stage. As an example, the report hypothesises that, in the year 2020, an Indian operator with 10m subscribers may have to pay out as much as $400m to replace 2G modules with 3G alternatives.

Glenn Lurie, president, emerging devices, resale and partnerships, AT&T, adds: “Module costs are just one part of the equation when bringing the next range of connected devices and services to market. Other factors, including unique requirements by vertical segments, certification process, provisioning and support, also share in the costs for a complete embedded solution.”