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Global Mobile Broadband HSPA Connections to Top 150 Million

Posted: 27th Jul, 2009 By: MarkJ
The GSM Association estimates that connections to the current generation of HSPA based Mobile Broadband services will surpass the 150m mark by the end of this summer. The growth will not stop there and is expected to hit 200m connections by Q1-2010. Meanwhile Nokia has predicted that mobile data usage will outstrip voice traffic by 2011.

GSMA's Director of Technology, Dan Warren, said:

"The tremendous success of HSPA demonstrates the enormous ongoing demand for truly mobile broadband access. HSPA's leading position is not just important to the mobile industry - by using a single technology for mobile broadband services globally, we avoid the fragmentation that limits its potential to improve the quality of people's lives."

The majority of growth will come from Europe, which is expected to pass the 50m mark any day now and reach 60m by the end of September. Asia follows close behind with an almost identical figure of 50m and expects to have 56m by September. By comparison the USA has 32m and will achieve 37m in September. South America hopes to achieve just 4m over the same period.

Overall HSPA Mobile Broadband services can be found on more than 300 networks across 127 countries, with nearly 1500 HSPA enabled devices (phones, netbooks, USB Modems etc.) being available. It is now the fastest adopted mobile technology of all time.

It should therefore come as no great surprise that Nokia Siemens Networks has reported seeing mobile data traffic growth double every year. This is thanks to the large number of subscribers who are logging on to the Internet to access and download data on mobile devices.

In fact, Nokia expects that at current rates, by 2011, mobile data will overtake voice traffic, growing exponentially until 2013. Nokia Siemens Networks itself has already reached the 500 million mobile data user milestone, accounting for roughly 40% of global mobile data traffic today.

Jürgen Walter, head of Converged Core, Nokia Siemens Networks, said:

“While we can see that data traffic is rocketing, operator revenues are not. This means focusing on lowering the cost of data delivery."

Capacity remains one of Mobile Broadband's greatest foes, with even existing HSPA technology being ill equipped for dealing with the growing scale of data usage. Mobile operators will need to spend more on capacity to maintain a service that they sell at low prices purely to fill up spare network space.

Future generations of Mobile Broadband technology, such as Long Term Evolution ( LTE ), will be considerably better equipped to handle the growth without suffering problems. However Ericsson recently warned that it could be 2012 before the technology could fully establish itself in the UK (here).
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