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Two billion mobile broadband users by 2014

Joe O'Halloran

The number of subscribers to mobile broadband services over all of the supporting technologies will rocket by 1024% over the next five years to over 2 billion according to forecasts by Ovum.

By 2014, the global advisory and consulting firm estimates that there will be 258 million users worldwide accessing mobile broadband services through laptops, which are connected via USB modems, data cards or have embedded mobile modules.

Ovum believes that even though Western Europe will be the slowest growing region in the next five years, user growth in laptop access over the next five years will reach 747%, and 918% in handset access. For the latter this means that handset-based mobile broadband use will grow from a base of 158 million in 2008 to almost 1.8 billion in 2014.

The key factors driving adoption in mature mobile and fixed broadband markets, says Ovum, will be the introduction of prepaid tariffs and increasing competition for mobile broadband access driving prices lower. The most aggressive growth, though, will likely be from emerging markets where current lack of fixed broadband presents a clear opportunity for mobile players.

In terms of what the market opportunity is for such growth, Ovum calculates that users accessing the Internet via mobile broadband enabled laptops and handsets will generate revenues of $137 billion globally in 2014, a growth of more than 450% compared with 2008.

“This is a staggering growth from 2008, which is when mobile broadband supposedly ‘took-off’...The ubiquity of the Internet and the desire to be connected on the move are key drivers for this, as will the increasing adoption of prepaid tariffs, which support the complementary nature of mobile broadband in such regions with high fixed broadband penetration…” explained Steven Hartley, senior analyst at Ovum and co-author of this research.



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