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Global Wireless Broadband Users Could Exceed 2bn by 2015
By: MarkJ - 30 July, 2008 (8:30 AM)

New research from Analysys Mason predicts that the global total of wireless broadband users will hit an estimated 2.1 billion by 2015, making for service revenues of 392bn ($784bn). Furthermore, the market will be dominated by Mobile Broadband technologies delivered over cell networks.

HSPA will support 88% of all wireless broadband consumers at the end of 2008, and its importance will continue. Despite the increasing availability of LTE and WiMAX, HSPA and HSPA+ will still support 54% of wireless broadband users by the end of 2015, according to Dr Mark Heath, co-author of the report:

WiMAX will fail to achieve a significant share of the rapidly developing wireless broadband market, contributing only 2% of global revenue. By 2015, there will be twenty times as many customers for cellular broadband services as for WiMAX, according to Dr Alastair Brydon, co-author of the report, The vast majority of MNOs will not break ranks to WiMAX, but will upgrade to Long Term Evolution (LTE), resulting in over four times more LTE users by the end of 2015.

Developing regions will account for only 17% of wireless broadband customers at the end of 2008, but the lack of fixed-line infrastructure in these regions will bolster the growth of wireless broadband services, and developing regions will account for 57% of wireless broadband customers worldwide by the end of 2015:

Key findings of the new report include:

  • Because W-CDMA to HSPA to HSPA+ is the natural evolution path for GSM operators, the number of HSPA and HSPA+ customers worldwide will increase from 61 million at the end of 2008 to 1.1 billion at the end of 2015.

  • Cellular technologies will dominate wireless broadband services, with twenty times as many users as WiMAX by the end of 2015.

  • LTE will take off relatively slowly, but its customer base will reach 440 million by 2015, with associated revenue of USD194 billion.

  • WiMAX will be squeezed from developed markets by fixed and cellular broadband services and by 2015 will serve just 98 million customers worldwide, of which 92% will be in developing regions.

The report will make for grim reading at chip giant Intel, where they have been keen to push WiMAX as an alternative to future Mobile Broadband technologies, such as LTE and enhanced versions of HSPA.

This may also help to explain why Intel has recently become so keen to foster the idea of greater interoperability between the technologies, which might otherwise face a slow death in the wider market.


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