Global Mobile Broadband subscribers hit 50 million

Number of users connected to fast Mobile Broadband (HSPA) networks forecast to grow at more than 4m a month

The GSMA, the global trade group for the mobile industry, today announced that the number of worldwide subscribers using Mobile Broadband (HSPA) networks has topped the 50 million mark from 11 million one year ago. Global uptake of HSPA technology among consumers and businesses is accelerating, indicating continued traffic growth for high-speed mobile networks worldwide. Wireless Intelligence expects the number of HSPA connections to be growing by 4 million per month by the end of 2008.

The number of operators with commercial HSPA networks has reached 191 and there are now over 740 HSPA-enabled devices (including mobiles, dongles and notebooks) available from 116 manufacturers.

“These figures highlight the global success of Mobile Broadband and the fact that we are continuing to see greater and greater economies of scale,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. “This is driving down the cost of devices and equipment and enabling more and more users across the world to enjoy easy access to media-rich services anywhere at anytime.”

High-speed mobile access opens up a wide range of services for consumers, including interactive gaming, music and video streaming and the easy sharing of pictures and entertainment. Businesses can use fast Mobile Broadband to rollout advanced solutions for flexible working and to enable field workers to have quick and easy access to the company’s information systems.

The most widely-deployed peak data speeds over HSPA are currently between 3.6Mbps and 7.2Mbps. This translates to an end user speed of more than 1Mbps, comparable to many of today’s fixed line broadband services.

Supporting quotes from operators:

“AT&T offers the nation’s fastest 3G network – an achievement born from HSPA technology,” said Kris Rinne, Senior Vice President of Architecture and Planning for AT&T. “Our network’s ability to provide simultaneous voice and data over HSPA allows for services like AT&T’s groundbreaking Video Share calling across our more than 305 major metropolitan areas where we have deployed 3G.”

“The market need for Mobile Broadband services has increased significantly in recent years. Softbank, and other mobile operators who have deployed W-CDMA networks, believe that HSPA satisfies these requirements because of its efficient spectrum usage as well as cost effectiveness for capacity expansion,” said Tetsuzo Matsumoto, Chief Strategy Officer, Softbank. “Thanks to the great potential of HSPA, mobile operators will be able to provide attractive services with competitive pricing for end users. Softbank will expand its deployment of HSPA due to the clear demand for Mobile Broadband.”

“The expansive coverage and high speeds of Telstra’s 3GSM HSPA Next G™ network are delivering superior consumer experiences and increasingly enabling significant health and educational applications,” said Mike Wright, Executive Director Telstra Wireless. “One example is Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service that now takes to the skies with a Telstra Next G™ turbo modem and video phone as part of their essential medical supplies kit, giving their staff secure access to patient records and other data necessary to make informed critical care decisions. Our continued commitment to HSPA technology will continue as Telstra prepares to deliver peak downlinks speeds of 21 Mbps later this year, further unlocking the potential of the Next G™ network.”

“These figures pay testament to the growing power and appeal of Mobile Broadband, which is enabling customers to work and socialise in a range of innovative new ways,” said Steve Pusey, Global CTO of Vodafone. “Vodafone continues to upgrade its 3G/HSPA networks to offer its customers an unparalleled mobile experience by increasing average network speeds and in turn deliver even greater flexibility and convenience.”

Notes to editors:

The HSPA subscriber figures were calculated by analyst group Wireless Intelligence. A live counter of Mobile Broadband connections around the world can be seen on the GSMA’s dedicated website:

Details of the Wireless Intelligence figures are available on request.

HSPA in numbers:

267 operator commitments in 111 countries
191 commercial deployments in 89 countries

All EU countries have commercial HSPA deployments
747 HSPA devices from 114 suppliers including:

  • 281 mobile handsets
  • 68 data cards
  • 120 notebooks
  • 40 wireless routers
  • 72 USB modems
  • 39 embedded modules

About GSMA

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing more than 750 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. The Association’s members represent more than 3 billion GSM and 3GSM connections – over 86% of the world’s mobile phone connections. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association’s initiatives as key partners.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers.

For further information contact:
Matt Simmons
Email: [email protected]