UK incumbent telco BT has launched a new wireless 802.11n ADSL2+ modem - the BT Home Hub 3, supplied by hardware vendors Sagem and Huawei. The device is being bundled free to all new BT broadband customers, and will cost £46 for existing BT customers wishing to upgrade (versus regular retail price £91.90 from BT shop).
BT first began offering wireless 802.11n devices with its broadband services in July 2008, which also launched at a similar price point to their latest Home Hub (free to new subscribers, £45 to existing).
There are a couple of key technical advantages of the 802.11n standard over its predecessor 802.11g. 802.11n offers better WiFi signal coverage while also enabling users to connect wirelessly with data transfer rates of up to 150Mbit/s (vs 54Mbit/s with 802.11g).
Alongside BT, other UK ISPs supplying customers with 802.11n equipment bundled in with broadband access subscriptions include:
- Orange (bundled with all broadband packages)
- TalkTalk (only with 'Plus package' broadband)
- Virgin cable (bundled with 30Mbit/s or faster broadband packages; £75 when taken with 10Mbit/s broadband)
According to new data from IHS Screen Digest's Broadband Technology service, consumer demand in the UK for wireless N modems rose from 2.3m in 2009 to 2.8m units in 2010; meanwhile 802.11n devices' share of overall modem demand has grown to just shy of 50% up from 35% the previous year.
The growth in 802.11n devices is set against a backdrop of falling annual demand for modems and routers, corresponding to a slowdown in broadband net additions as the UK market reaches maturation. Total modem and router demand in the UK dropped to just over 7.0m in 2010 according to IHS Screen Digest data. Increasingly, demand for modems is being driven by consumer churn between providers and network upgrades (which in turn frequently means a new modem for consumers), rather than by subscribers coming online.
Meanwhile, vendor revenue from sales of modems to broadband providers totalled an estimated £240m in 2010, with Sagem, Netgear, Huawei, D-Link and Technicolor ranking among the leaders in terms of revenue.
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