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Worldwide mobile broadband market flying

Joe O'Halloran

The global mobile broadband market has experienced a tenfold increase over the past twelve year, according to statistics released by the GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade association for the mobile industry.

The GSMA predicts that there now exist more than 32 million mobile broadband (HSDPA) connections worldwide compared with just over 3 million at the end of the first quarter of 2007.

The momentum has been gathering pace thanks to 166 mobile broadband (HSPA) networks deploying live services in 73 countries as more and more operators upgrade their 3G networks with HSPA technology in parallel with the growing availability of a wide number of advanced HSPA handsets.

“The uptake of mobile services…is rising in many countries as users are experiencing the benefits of high-speed mobile broadband,” said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA. “We are witnessing the creation of a virtuous circle in which mobile broadband is achieving greater and greater economies of scale, driving down the cost of handsets and equipment and enabling more and more people to enjoy easy access to media-rich services over the air.”

The number of networks now offering commercial mobile broadband services has also increased significantly over the past year. The GSMA recorded a 44% increase, between May 2007 and March 2008, in the number of mobile broadband (HSPA) enabled networks.

Over the past 16 months there has also been a significant increase in the number of commercially available HSPA-enabled devices. The GSMA estimates the growth of HSPA devices to be more than 265 percent, with 128 devices available in January 2007 and more than 467 available in March 2008. Mobile broadband (HSPA)-enabled devices include mobile handsets, notebook PCs, data cards, wireless routers and USB modems
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