Report: There are now 1.6 billion 3G/4G connections in the world


Mobile broadband networks account for nearly one quarter of the world’s mobile cellular connections, according to numbers released this week by Wireless Intelligence, the research arm of the GSM Association. That winds up being 1.6 billion 3G and 4G subscriptions.

Wireless Intelligence defines mobile broadband as any CDMA EV-DO, HSPA, WiMAX or LTE technology, as well as the TD-SCDMA systems used in China – basically anything that can stream a video to a smartphone with a decent connection. In total 580 operators in 186 countries are running those networks.

Wireless Intelligence infographic worldwide mobile broadband

The regional breakdown of where those subscribers are is particularly interesting. As you might expect, Asia leads the pack by leagues, supporting 773 million mobile broadband connections. The Americas (both continents) are second with 426 million links, while Europe boasts 358 million connections.

But Asia also has the most room for growth. While in Europe and the Americas mobile broadband connections account for 50 percent of all links, in Asia the number is at a mere 18 percent. For that reason, Wireless Intelligence is projecting Asia’s growth rate will be the fastest, increasing its 3G and 4G subscription base by 50 percent each year.



its interesting that Africa is not discussed in this article despite the sky high indications of growth and the population of the continent…oh well…i wonder why…hmmmnn


I believe the 80% growth rate in Africa is correct because I can see people in Morocco are increasingly getting prepaid or subscribing to mobile plans with 3G access, the lowest plan is about $12 per month but considering the unemployment rate in the country we can say there is still a lot of people who may find it expensive.

Andrew J Shepherd

I like how the GSM Association “cooks the books” a little bit. Hey, let us divide up EV-DO Rev 0 and EV-DO Rev A/B into separate categories but lump all the countless releases/categories of W-CDMA and HSPA together.



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