2010 Global Mobile Broadband - Key Trends and Growth as Momentum Builds

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Last updated: 14 Apr 2010 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 129

Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide development of the increasingly exciting mobile broadband sector. Information at a regional level is also provided for the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. The report includes analyses, statistics, forecasts and trends. It provides a comprehensive perspective of the overall global and regional mobile broadband industry and explores key issues and opportunities. Please note: Mobile voice communication is covered in detail in a separate annual publication.

Subjects covered include:

  • Analyses of key issues impacting upon global mobile broadband sector;
  • Global and regional 3G and 4G developments including statistics;
  • Overview of key mobile broadband industry segments;
  • Global Mobile Location Based Services (MLBS) market overview;
  • Global mobile TV/Video market overview;
  • Global mobile messaging services market overview;
  • Global mobile commerce and payments market overview;
  • Regional overview for Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Researchers:- Kylie Wansink, Paul Budde, Lawrence Baker, Lucia Bibolini, Peter Evans, Lisa Hulme-Jones, Paul Kwon, Henry Lancaster, Peter Lange, Tine Lewis, Stephen McNamara.
Current publication date:- April 2010 (14th Edition)
Next publication date:- April 2011

Executive Summary

The global mobile broadband market continues to gain momentum and is becoming an increasingly exciting sector to watch. One of the key reasons for this growth is the fact that due to competition and a saturated mobile voice market, the operators have been forced to offer very competitive capped data packages. Non-SMS mobile data is now growing as it is becoming easier to access via mobile devices such as smart phones. Mobile networks are also improving as 3.5G (HSPA) continues to be deployed and wireless broadband technologies (4G) emerge over the next few years. While on deck mobile data usage remains strong, off deck usage to both mobile specific Internet sites and regular sites is also growing rapidly.

The traditional mobile broadband segments of SMS, mobile email and mobile music continue to grow and we are now also seeing the increasing use of mobile social networking services, mobile gambling and gaming, mobile adult content and mobile video.

Location-based services (LBS) are also back in the spotlight, driven mostly by the continuing uptake of handsets with smarter capabilities and user interfaces. LBS are being integrated into other applications such as mobile social networking and personal navigation devices.

The popularity of mobile messaging services continues to grow on the back of the introduction of capped data changes, smart phones and bundled services. One area of note in decline is the Premium SMS (PSMS) market, which is feeling the impact of users now enjoying the freedom of choosing their own content using smart phones, namely the iPhone. This development was foreshadowed by BuddeComm during most of the 2000s. Despite this setback, the world’s unstoppable need to communicate while on the move means the messaging and mobile social networking sectors both have bright futures ahead.

In 2010 the interest surrounding Near Field Communications for m-commerce and m-payments continues unabated, with further trials and roll-outs occurring around the world. Financial transactions via mobile phones are also set to rise substantially as banks and mobile operators continue to work together. Focus has turned to the developing markets, where mobile phones are being viewed as an opportunity to reach the masses that would not otherwise use m-payment or m-banking services.

While there is much activity taking place in the mobile broadband sector; it will not be until proper 4G wireless broadband technologies become available that we will see the true potential of mobile broadband. Many operators around the world have committed to LTE and there are also over 500 WIMAX deployments taking place.

Around the world, WiFi has established itself as the quiet achiever and in 2010 there is evidence emerging that the use of WiFi hotspots is on the rise due to increasing popularity from smart phone users. Wi-Fi offers a faster and in some cases, cheaper, alternative for accessing mobile broadband services rather than via traditional mobile networks. The recent introduction of Wi-Fi Direct has also increased the competition between it and another short-range wireless technology – Bluetooth. In the midst of short range wireless technologies there is also Ultra-Wideband (UWB) which has struggled due to competition and lack of applications. UWB chip manufacturers have now turned their attention towards the wireless HD connectivity sector.

The mobile broadband sector is certainly unfolding before our eyes and being driven by developments such as iPhone, Android and the awesome applications that are possible with these devices. It will only be a matter of time before the backhaul demand created by this will lead to a rather rapid need to upgrade to 4G networks.

This report provides valuable insights and analysis into the key trends taking place in the increasingly exciting mobile broadband sector. The report comprises information on mobile broadband growth and trends, including key global and regional statistics. Topics covered include major global mobile broadband technologies and the global mobile handset market. Key mobile broadband industry segments are also explored with a focus on the areas of Mobile Location Based Services (MLBS), mobile social networking, mobile TV/video and mobile messaging services. The report also provides a global overview of m-commerce and m-payment developments. Information at a regional level is provided for North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Please note: Mobile voice communication is covered in detail in a separate annual publication: Global Mobile Communications - Key Trends and Growth in a Challenging Environment

Market highlights:

  • In early 2010 there were over 200 million subscribers worldwide using HSPA.
  • There are over 100 operators worldwide committed to deploying LTE.
  • It is expected that in 2010 around 95 million consumers will be making mobile payments worldwide.
  • Mobile social networking is one of the fastest growing mobile broadband sectors with many phones now pre-loading the app.
  • In North America the national providers have been accelerating their efforts to bring 3G to the market in recent years. For instance, in Canada, Bell Mobility and Telus launched 3G in late 2009 in anticipation of the revenue potential from the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics. They did so via a shared HSPA+ network using Nokia Siemens technology.
  • Mobile broadband is booming in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, the combined number of subscribers for HSPA and WiMAX broadband access was higher than the number of ADSL subscribers at end-2009. Their combined share of the broadband access market is also around the 50% mark in Bahrain.
  • Non-messaging mobile data revenue grew by 70% in South Africa in 2009 while overall mobile data revenue increased by 30%.
  • Mobile broadband has become an important option for broadband in Latin America, as it is available in areas that have no fixed-line broadband coverage. The service is commonly used with either a USB modem that plugs into a computer, or with netbooks, notebooks, or laptops that have a built-in 3G receiver.
  • Globally, the Australian mobile broadband market holds quite a unique position and there is a relatively better business case for mobile broadband in Australia than in other countries.
  • The number of New Zealanders accessing the internet via mobile phones more than doubled from 7% in 2007 to 18% in late 2009.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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