CES: Ericsson sees mass market for modules

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, executives from Ericsson's new Mobile Broadband Modules business unit are touting the company's progress in embedding its HSPA modules in various consumer electronics devices, including notebook computers, digital cameras, gaming devices and more.

Ericsson's vision is very similar to that of Sprint's mobile broadband division, which has long been a champion of the idea that many consumer electronics devices will soon incorporate broadband wireless technology. However where the two camps differ is in their choice of mobile broadband technology. Sprint, of course, is championing WiMAX. Ericsson is a proponent of HSPA and eventually LTE.

Mats Norin, vice president, product area mobile broadband modules at Ericsson, says that 2008 will be the tipping point for having mobile broadband modules with HSPA technology to be embedded in consumer devices. There are 147 commercial HSPA networks worldwide and carriers are starting to drop their price points for mobile broadband services. In Sweden, for example, the operator 3 is charging $30 per month for 7.2 Mbps wireless broadband connectivity.

Ericsson is already claiming a leadership position in the embedded module area because it already has deals with two of the top seven PC manufacturers. -Sue