After having just hit the ½ billion mark in 2010, the number of mobile broadband subscribers is all set to touch the 1 billion mark in 2011.
The usage of mobile broadband services has been increasing at a very fast rate. This is most likely because of the increased availability of smartphones, tablets, cheap laptops and other portable devices coupled with the availability of several types of data plans to suit each user’s needs.
While the number of mobile broadband connections was just about 200 million in 2008, it crossed the ½ billion mark in August 2010, according to mobile equipment manufacturer Ericsson. They now estimate that this figure will cross the 1 billion mark in 2011, and further predict that this number will go up to 3.8 billion by 2015.
The increased use of mobile broadband services has started adding to the revenue generated by telecom operators and also has caused an increased demand for mobile gear. Telecom firms such as TeliaSonera, Telenor and Tele2 have already reported increased use of mobile Internet services.
Adoption of mobile broadband is most prolific in the Asia-Pacific region, which is expected to account for 400 million users. North America and Western Europe are surprisingly not far behind, contributing an additional 200 million subscriptions each, in spite of the already high number of fixed-line broadband subscribers.
Customer satisfaction with mobile broadband in the Western countries, though, is pretty poor. Most customers complain about slow speeds and low download limits, especially when compared to speeds on unlimited broadband connections via ADSL and cable connections. These services tend to be used in these regions mostly by travelling business personnel.
In many parts of Asia, though, mobile broadband is the only available option, which accounts for the greater number of regular subscribers.