Network supplier Ericsson has said that 2010 saw a significant milestone reached as global mobile broadband subscriptions smashed through the half-a-billion mark globally.
Ericsson believes this number will double before 2011 is out with the largest number of subscriptions, around 400 million, coming from the Asia Pacific region, followed by North America and Western Europe (around 200 million each).
Smartphones, laptops and tablets, as well as the launch of high-performance networks, are behind the surge.
“Smartphone users are increasingly using applications and internet services on the go,” said an Ericsson report. “Users' consumption of the internet and other media is changing as a result of the introduction of fast networks and the availability of various types of devices, including smartphones. According to TeliaSonera's survey of its LTE users, about 23% of them now watch more online TV, and in excess of 46% surf the web more frequently when away from home.”
By 2015, Ericsson says mobile broadband subscriptions will top 3.8 billion, with 95% driven by HSPA, CDMA and LTE networks.
Warren Chaisatien, Strategic Marketing Manager, Ericsson Australia/New Zealand, Ericsson expects the number of mobile broadband subscriptions in Australia to reach the 4 million mark anytime now.
In Australia, mobile broadband accounted for 36% of internet connections in 2010, up 12% from the previous year.
"The popularity of tablet computing devices for enterprise and consumer applications will further drive mobile broadband growth in 2011 across Australia and New Zealand," said Chaisatien.
According to IDC, New Zealand mobile internet connections via handsets will grow from 1.4 million in 2010 to 1.6 million in 2011 (18% growth). Mobile broadband connections (using a USB/dongle) will grow from 252,000 in 2010 to 333,000 in 2011 (32% growth). And mobile internet/broadband spending will increase from $236m in 2010 to $302m in 2011 (28% growth).
Back in December statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) placed New Zealand one spot higher than Australia for fixed-line broadband penetration (17th and 18th respectively).