HSPA/LTE accounted for 20.6 percent of the total number of broadband connections in Europe at the end of 2010, according to a report from Swedish research group, Berg Insight. There were 33.9 million subscribers connecting their PCs and tablets via HSPA/LTE. This number doesn’t include the phone-based connections and will increase to 96 million by 2016. In comparison, the North American market mobile broadband accounted for just 13.2 percent of the total number of connections. Between 2010 and 2016, the North American market will grow to 58 million subscribers.
This is not surprising — the European carriers, especially in Scandinavia and Baltic Nations have been aggressive in upgrading to LTE and faster 3G networks. Even smaller nations in Eastern Europe have seen rollout of the mobile broadband services at a much faster pace than some of their counterparts in the west. The U.S. has only recently started to see a ramp in wireless broadband speeds, thanks to the rollout of faster 3G services from T-Mobile USA and 4G-type services (LTE, WiMAX) from Sprint, Clearwire and Verizon.
As the faster wireless broadband connections proliferate, we are going to need devices to access those networks. The demand for these kind of connections is only going to increase as we all start to adapt to the idea of working from anywhere and accessing information at anytime.
Berg Insight estimates the total global number of shipped external mobile broadband devices in 2010 to 92.7 million, with Europe and North America accounting for 27.4 million units and 8.5 million units respectively. In addition, shipments of embedded modules reached an estimated 9.5 million units.
Here are some more stats from the Berg Insight:
* Austria has a mobile broadband penetration rate of over 20 percent.
* Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Ireland and Portugal also have penetration rates above 10 percent.
* Belgium, Switzerland and Greece have, on the other hand, penetration rates of less than 3 percent.
* The lowest prices can be found in the Baltic countries, Poland and Austria with average monthly prices ranging € 8–11 ($10.93 to $15.04 US) for a 3 GB bundle at a data rate of at least 3.6 Mbps.
* The highest prices can be found in Switzerland and Spain (€ 40 per month).
* Huawei has 49 percent of the mobile broadband market, followed by ZTE which has a market share of 31 percent.
* In North America, Sierra Wireless and Novatel Wireless are dominant players.