By: MarkJ - 11 November, 2009 (9:58 AM)
mobile broadband logoThe GSM Association (GSMA) has revealed that the rate of growth of HSPA (3.5G) based Mobile Broadband connections has increased by nearly two thirds in the last year. There are now more than 9m new HSPA connections being added globally every month, compared with 5.5m last year.

Basic HSPA technology offers download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps (5.8Mbps upload), though future HSPA+ and LTE technology can reach 42Mbps and 100Mbps+ respectively. The rise in demand for Mobile Broadband will continue to accelerate, with a further 27 million HSPA connections forecast to be added by the end of 2009, with Africa, Eastern Europe and the Americas showing the strongest growth.

Dan Warren, Director of Technology at the GSMA, said:

"HSPA technology continues its phenomenal growth as thousands of operators, vendors, application and service providers back the technology, ensuring the presence of a vibrant and competitive ecosystem. This expanding ecosystem also encompasses the next generation of GSM technologies, HSPA+ and LTE .

These next generation network technologies will continue to deliver increased data speeds and enable mobile operators to constantly improve service experience by delivering the latest, feature rich multimedia applications to their customers."

Mobile operators around the world are seeing a massive growth in the amount of mobile data traffic across their networks and this trend is set to continue. By 2014 mobile devices will push more traffic in one month than in all of 2008 combined and three quarters of this will come from Internet usage.

As for the future, there are now 56 HSPA+ networks in existence globally, with 28 commercially live. Furthermore, 50 mobile operators worldwide have already committed to LTE plans, trials or deployments, with the first LTE networks expected to be rolled out next year.

LTE is widely regarded as the de facto Mobile Broadband technology that will be adopted by the vast majority of mobile operators globally and has also received European Union (EU) support. It should bring better capacity management, faster speeds and lower latency.

However revenue from Mobile Broadband services continues to be disproportionately low, so don't expect any miracle new services for awhile; the extra bandwidth simply doesn’t exist. Mobile Broadband will either stay slow, become more restrictive or operators may even need to raise prices to get the most out of their products.
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