Mobile broadband popularity rockets

Analysts claim there will be five million mobile broadband connections in Europe by the end of this year, with six times as many by 2011

Europe will have five million mobile broadband connections by the end of this year, a Swedish analyst firm has predicted.

According to Berg Insight, the countries where people are signing up most quickly to HSDPA (high-speed 3G) services are Austria and Sweden. Overall, the firm predicts, the continent's mobile broadband connections will have shot up to 30 million by 2011.

The availability of HSDPA — a technology which can deliver a download speed of up to 7Mbps — has coincided with falling prices for mobile internet access, boosting the popularity of the connection method, according to Berg Insight. "Mobile operators like 3, A1 Mobilkom and Telenor are getting this right," said senior analyst Tobias Ryberg last week. "Ordinary people have already replaced their old bulky desktop PC with a new, slim, widescreen notebook. Now, thanks to [HSDPA], they can also connect to the internet anywhere for just €20 (£13.50) per month."

Berg Insight predicted that the European broadband market will be worth €3bn (£2bn) in five years' time, compared with the €1.1bn (£742m) worth of devices and services last year. The analyst firm also suggested that the introduction of HSPA+ in 2009 — a further evolution of 3G which will see download speeds increase to 28.8Mbps — will further diminish the need for "alternative high-speed mobile broadband technologies", such as mobile WiMax.

The company's European Mobile Broadband Market report also suggested that mobile WiMax would have no major impact on the European market in the next five years due to spectrum availability issues and the ubiquity of 3G-based services.


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