Mobile broadband expected to take off after 2008

Mobile broadband connections are expected to reach 40 million worldwide by the end of 2008, according to figures released Thursday by Wireless Intelligence.

By 2010, WCDMA HSDPA is expected to represent around 45 percent of total WCDMA cellular connections, exceeding GSM connections by the end of this decade.

Wireless Intelligence, which is a joint venture between analyst firm Ovum Ltd. and the GSM Association, a trade body for mobile phone operators, expects a fast adoption cycle for mobile broadband particularly in the Asia Pacific.

Senior analyst at Wireless, Joss Gillet, said WCDMA HSDPA will be commercially present in more than 60 countries by the end of next year.

WCDMA HSDPA is a software upgrade to existing WCDMA networks with the aim of bringing broadband speeds to mobile networks.

Gillet said WCDMA HSDPA will go through a slow adoption phase until the end of 2008.

“There is still a lack of affordable devices, WCDMA coverage is still improving and services are only targeted at the mid to high end of the market,” Gillet said.

WCDMA HSPA is expected to represent around six percent of total WCDMA connections by the end of 2007 (11 million connections).

“The fastest early growth is coming from Asia-Pacific, with operators such as KTF, Telstra and NTT DoCoMo already very aggressive in migrating their installed base to the new technology,” Gillet added.

At an operator group level, Vodafone Group could reach 4.5 million WCDMA HSDPA cellular connections by the end of next year.

From 2009, WCDMA HSPA uptake in Western and Eastern European countries will trigger a fast adoption of the technology worldwide.

“In 2010, worldwide WCDMA HSDPA cellular connections are expected to represent around 45 percent of total WCDMA connections, numbering around 278 million cellular connections,” Gillet said.

Wireless Intelligence has a database on the global mobile market which contains more than a million individual data points drawn from 670 operators in 221 countries.

GSM Association (GSMA) members serve more than two billion customers, that is 78 percent of the world’s mobile phone users.

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