The rate of WCDMA HSPA adoption in its first six years is ten times greater than the take up of GSM mobile phones when they were first introduced in the mid-1990s, says the firm. There are now more than 19 million HSPA connections being added each month and it is predicted that the industry will reach 1 billion HSPA connections by the end of 2012. LTE networks are also being rapidly introduced, with 1 million connections already and 300 million expected by 2015.
More than 3,100 devices support HSPA and there are now 350 live HSPA networks across 132 countries worldwide. Furthermore, 88 HSPA networks across 50 countries have been upgraded to HSPA+ with a further 52 network upgrades planned. HSPA+ offers peak download speeds of 84Mbps, potentially rising to 168Mbps if deployed in wider spectrum bands.
However, as user demand for mobile broadband continues to grow, more spectrum is needed to deliver the capacity that is required to support it. Many governments have yet to allocate the 'digital dividend' spectrum in the 700-800 MHz band, which will be freed up from the switchover to digital television and the 2.5-2.6 GHz band, which has been identified globally by the ITU as the '3G extension band'. There is also further scope for expansion through the refarming of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum, which are mainly used for 2G networks by hundreds of operators worldwide.
"Mobile broadband has helped to reshaped the tech landscape and bring ubiquitous Internet connections into the palm of your hand," said Joss Gillet, senior analyst at Wireless Intelligence. "The fast adoption of mobile Internet services has been fuelled by a rapid price erosion of devices, a demand for innovative offers and tariffs, as well as expansion of network coverage."
"The global rollout of HSPA+ and LTE networks will play a leading role in the evolution of cloud-based applications and services. Nevertheless, device availability, regulation and pricing are key factors that will dictate growth across global regions. With regards to LTE, the Asia Pacific region will account for 43 percent of LTE connections by 2015, but growth will initially be driven by developments in North America and Western Europe."
HSPA-based mobile broadband set to pass 500M connections