Friday, June 24, 2011

Wireless broadband - Half a billion subscriptions in 32 developed countries, up ten per cent in one year

[wireless federation] In a study involving 32 developed countries, the reported figures reveal that the wireless broadband subscriptions had topped the half billion mark at the closing of 2010. It also highlighted an increase of over 10 percent as on June 2010.

As far as fixed broadband subscriptions are concerned, the number touched 300 million for the first time. However, growth slumped to 6% year-on-year; the slowest growth rate recorded since the process of collecting broadband data started by the sources, a decade back. It is understood to be a reflection of greater broadband penetration in addition to market saturation in a number of countries.

With 38.1 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, Netherlands and Switzerland top the statistics. Next, Denmark (37.7) and Norway (34.6) follow. One prominent highlight concerning fiber subscriptions is that the growth continues, making up for 12.3% of all fixed broadband connections. Japan (58%), Korea (55%), Slovak Republic (29%) and Sweden (26%) lead the charts in fiber subscriptions. On the other hand, DSL still happens to be the most widely used technology (57.6%); cable (29.4%) follows next.

Going by the wireless broadband subscriptions, Korea leads the pack with 89.8 per 100 inhabitants as Finland (84.8), Sweden (82.9) and Norway (79.9) trail close by. The data sources average stands at 41.6 while the total is just under 512 million.

According to sources, inexpensive, flat-rate mobile data plans are primarily instrumental in fuelling growth of mobile broadband. It has also been noted that resilience and an underlying strength saw the communication sector through the financial crisis thereby reflecting its vital role in the global economic dynamics.

Other notable factors that contribute to the sector’s robust health point to long contract durations of mobile operators, packaged offers of television, mobile and fixed telephony gaining unprecedented popularity in addition to an emerging perception that communication services are non-discretionary spending items. Households doing their best to cut spending are apparently, economizing in other areas instead; at least as an initial step.

The thriving acceptance of bundled services has also been instrumental in this prevailing trend by way of strengthening loyalty and preventing a big shake up – a big help for the operators at the time of the downturn. Bundled services stand to benefit consumers by bringing about lower prices and other bonuses like convenient billing, integrated services or customer assistance.

According to sources, however, bundled offers are accompanied by complexity making them difficult to understand thereby posing additional challenges for consumers who look to make informed decisions in terms of comparing prices etc. To add insult to injury, bundling stand to make it difficult for users to change providers or reject a service.

The sources also highlight the increasing significance of IPv6 as the hoard of unassigned IPv4 addresses has almost depleted. The importance of a quicker adoption by industry has also been stressed; seen as the only lasting solution to continue the capability of the Internet and keep on connecting billions of people and devices.

Wireless broadband subscriptions cross the half billion mark

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