271 Million Mobile Broadband Users - says ABI

(25 Mar 2010, BWCS Staff)

The number of mobile broadband subscriptions grew to 271 million in 2009 according to a study by ABI Research. The global figure, which marked a year on year increase of 43%, shows clearly that the trend amongst mobile users is towards faster connections. During the same time period, ABI points out, GSM voice-only subscriptions grew by only 8% and GPRS numbers actually shrank. Overall, the research company said that the number of mobile phone users in the world surpassed 4.35 billion last year - a growth of 10.4% compared to 2008.

ABI said that it expects the growth in GSM to "grind to a halt" by the middle of next year.  However, 3G and 3.5G subscriptions will continue to ramp up as the 'need for speed' encourages users to upgrade. At the end of 2009, ABI pointed out; there were 181 million HSPA subscriptions.

The economic down-turn in the emerging markets lead to a slow-down in mobile growth during the second half of last year with existing customers reducing what they spend on mobile subscriptions.

ABI believes that it is very likely that within next five to ten years, mobile penetration rates will pass through 200% in a number of developed countries. The research company believes that operators will need to sell multiple devices per subscription to retain customers.

The Asia-Pacific region now accounts for 45% of the global mobile market compared to just 29% ten years ago. The next-largest market is Western Europe (13%) followed by North America (7.2%). In Asia-Pacific, mobile penetration has only reached 52.5% compared to 140% in Western Europe and 93% in North America, ABI points out.


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