Downturn or Not, Mobile Broadband Is Growing Fast

[qi:___3g] Earlier this week, comScore reported that daily web usage on mobile devices had doubled in the last 12 months, with nearly 22.4 million U.S. mobile users using their devices to go on the web.

Today, another research firm, Infonetics Research reported that despite the global economic downturn, the demand for mobile broadband is only going increase. They expect that there will be more than 1 billion mobile broadband users by 2013 vs. 210.5 million at the end of 2008. These are connections that use 3G technologies such as W-CDMA, HSPA, CDMA 2000 and EVDO. The sales of mobile broadband PC cards (and embedded 3G modules) were around $4.1 billion in 2008 and show no signs of slowing down.

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Net-net, this is good news for mobile carriers, which raked in $49.8 billion in mobile broadband revenues in 2008. Infonetics predicts that these revenues will grow, percentage-wise, in the double digits over the next 5 years. In-Stat says that at the end of 2008 there were only 11% of worldwide wireless subscriptions were 3G but by the end of 2013, the percentage of 3G and 4G subscriptions will reach 30%.

If that is the case, then companies like AT&T need to improve their network quality. Right now, buying a 3G from AT&T is like buying a confiscated car in an auction lot: You just don’t know what you’re going to get.

nullThis mobile broadband growth is creating lot of opportunities for the entire wireless food chain, from interesting applications for Apple’s iPhone to backhaul equipment providers to equipment makers like Cisco Systems and Ericsson.

According to In-Stat, there were 132 announced deployments in the fourth quarter of 2008, consisting of 95 HSPA, 18 WCDMA, 12 mobile WiMAX, six CDMA EV-DO, and one TD SCDMA.

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