The BRIC nations -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- are driving a global increase in the adoption of mobile broadband as the developing world comes online to conduct business, according to a new report.
Market research firm Infonetics reports that the number of global mobile broadband subscribers increased by almost 50 percent between 2010 and 2011, to 846 million.
But the streak isn't over. Infonetics estimates that the figure will reach 2.6 billion -- an increase of more than 300 percent -- by 2016. And yes, BRIC will continue to do the driving, despite continued global economic distress.
The term "mobile broadband" includes both fixed and wireless Internet connectivity.
"We anticipate Asia Pacific to account for over half of the world's mobile broadband subscribers by 2016," said Infonetics analyst Stéphane Téral, "while Latin America will see the fastest growth.”
A few more interesting statistics worth browsing:
Total mobile subscribers will top 6 billion in 2012. By 2016, 7 billion.
In some countries, such as Finland, the number of mobile subscribers surpasses the actual population. (How? Multiple devices.)
Some 200 million traditional phone lines will be dropped over the next the five years.
DSL accounted for two-thirds of all wireline broadband subscriptions in 2011.
LTE subscribers will approach 450 million by 2016. WiMAX subscribers will reach 132 million.
The world's biggest mobile operators? China Mobile, Vodafone, América Móvil.