Recession-proof mobile broadband to hit billion user mark by 2013

Researcher expects robust mobile broadband growth throughout 2009 despite downtuen

A new report from market analyst Infonetics Research has found that mobile broadband is flourishing worldwide despite the general gloomy economic circumstances.

In the fourth quarter (4Q08) edition of its Mobile Broadband Cards, Routers, Services, and Subscribers report, Infonetics found that worldwide, the number of mobile broadband subscribers soared by 125% in 2008 compared with those recorded in 2007. This resulted in a total of 210.5 million subscribers for 2008 and Infonetics projects this figure to reach one billion by 2013.

Infonetics data revealed that there were just over $4.1 billion worth of sales of mobile broadband PC cards and embedded mobile broadband cards worldwide in 2008. Worldwide mobile broadband router manufacturer revenue grew 114% in 2008 over 2007, but sales of these access devices were found to have slowed in the second half of the year.

Overall though, the researcher expects mobile broadband growth to be healthy in 2009 whatever the recession may throw at the mobile computing community.

In terms of leading vendors, Huawei and Sony Ericsson were joint leader in terms of market share in mobile broadband cards by revenue in 2008, with Sony Ericsson's lead based on sales of W-CDMA/HSPA cards and dongles, and Huawei's based on both HSPA and EV-DO and a broader mix of PC card and embedded card formats

Infonetics said that service provider revenue from mobile broadband services grew 45% in 2008 to total $49.8 billion worldwide, and expects mobile broadband service revenue to grow by double-digit percentages over the next five years despite the inclement economic times.

A key driver in the growth, said, the market research firm, was the arrival of high bandwidth mobile broadband networks.  “With HSPA going live around many parts of the world, mobile broadband adoption accelerated in 2008, as mobile networks finally started to deliver on the promise of high speed mobile access. This, combined with better devices, gave the market tremendous impetus over the past year. Growth in the number of mobile broadband subscribers hit triple-digit percents in all the major world regions in 2008, indicating a booming market,” commented 'rw'Richard Webb, Directing Analyst – WiMAX, Microwave, and Mobile Devices at Infonetics Research

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