Global Mobile Broadband Connections Increase Tenfold Over The Past Year
The GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade association for the mobile industry, today announced that there are now more than 32 million Mobile Broadband (HSPA*) connections worldwide compared with just over 3 million at the end of the first quarter of 2007. Mobile Broadband continues to gain momentum as more and more operators upgrade their 3G networks with HSPA technology in parallel with a wealth of advanced HSPA handsets on the market.
Recent figures from Wireless Intelligence, a comprehensive database covering the global mobile market, indicate that global Mobile Broadband connections have risen by more than 850 percent year-on-year (Q1 CY07 – Q1 CY08). Operators in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America are all reporting an increase in the uptake of HSPA handsets currently capable of accessing the Internet at speeds ranging from 1.8Mbps to 7.2Mbps.
“The uptake of mobile services such as music and video downloads as well as Internet access is rising in many countries as users are experiencing the benefits of high-speed Mobile Broadband,” said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA. “We are witnessing the creation of a virtuous circle in which Mobile Broadband is achieving greater and greater economies of scale, driving down the cost of handsets and equipment and enabling more and more people to enjoy easy access to media-rich services over the air.”
The number of networks now offering commercial Mobile Broadband services has also increased significantly over the past year. The GSMA recorded a 44 percent increase, between May 2007 and March 2008, in the number of Mobile Broadband (HSPA) enabled networks with 166 networks now available in more than 73 countries around the world.
Over the past 16 months there has also been a significant increase in the number of commercially available HSPA-enabled devices. The GSMA estimates the growth of HSPA devices to be more than 265 percent, with 128 devices available in January 2007 and more than 467 available in March 2008. Mobile Broadband (HSPA)-enabled devices include mobile handsets, notebook PCs, data cards, wireless routers and USB modems.
Supporting quotes from operators:
“AT&T was the first operator in the world to deploy HSDPA widely, and we’re excited to see the continued growth of the technology around the globe,” said Kris Rinne, Senior VP, Architecture and Planning at AT&T. “This year, AT&T will expand its HSPA coverage to 350 markets around the United States, making us a leader in wireless broadband coverage.”
“Telstra’s fully HSPA enabled Next G™ network’s faster speeds, better coverage, and more compelling services and content are a huge competitive advantage,” said Dr Hugh Bradlow, Chief Technology Officer of Telstra Corporation Ltd. “At the end of January 2008, Telstra had more than 3.5 million 3G subscribers and the majority of these are HSDPA subscribers using our Next G™ network. HSPA helped drive mobile data revenue growth of 46.1 per cent and wireless broadband revenue growth of 205 per cent in the first half of 2007/08.”
“As a new wireless broadband carrier, we evaluated HSPA and WiMax carefully,” said Ed Evans, CEO of Stelera Wireless. “The wide availability of HSPA network infrastructure and consumer devices today drove our technology selection. We believe the GSM carriers will continue to advance HSPA and keep us in front of other competing technologies. Our analysis indicated that WiMax just wasn’t ready and vendor choices were very limited at this time.”
“mobilkom austria has been at the forefront of Mobile Broadband technology and currently has more then 290,000 Mobile Broadband subscribers with two thirds equipped with HSPA-enabled devices, said Boris Nemsic, CEO of mobilkom austria and Telekom Austria Group. We launched HSPA commercially in January 2006 and by September 2006 all areas in Austria with a high population density were covered. Our overall population coverage for Mobile Broadband (EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA/HSUPA) is 99 percent.”