Burgeoning demand for data services will translate to soaring popularity for
next-generation wireless broadband technologies, with 2.1 billion users projected
worldwide by 2015, according to a study released Wednesday.
Big winners will be carriers and handset makers, as growing adoption will generate
$784 billion globally in service revenue by 2015 — a dramatic 2400 percent spike from
today’s nascent levels of wireless broadband penetration, according to the study from
telecom analyst firm Analysys Mason.
“The availability of affordable mobile broadband services, mobile devices and data
services are driving revenue growth as wireless penetration hits saturation in developed
countries,” Mark Heath, an associate analyst at Analysys Mason and the report’s
co-author, told InternetNews.com.
The news comes as carriers, handset makers and other wireless industry players are
placing ever-larger bets on higher-bandwidth fourth-generation (4G) technologies in a
race to widen their pipelines to meet increasing demand for data services.
Wireless service providers currently are moving from 2G network standards — such as
Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and
Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) — to 3G technologies, which include
Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA), Universal Mobile Telecommunications
System (UMTS) and High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA).
Apple and AT&T recently
unveiled the new 3G iPhone, for instance.
But while 3G capabilities are already providing greater speeds, network capacity and
support for more bandwidth-intensive wireless features like video telephony, 4G
technologies like WiMAX and LTE are expected to deliver even larger improvements.
Yet users may take some time to jump on the 4G bandwagon.
While both WiMAX and LTE are expected to grow in availability and popular, neither
will eclipse the current HSPA standard anytime soon. According to Analysys, HSPA — which
is a collection of so-called “3.5G” technologies that improve on UMTS — will support
over 50 percent of wireless broadband users by the end of 2015.
HSPA will grow from 61 million users this year to 1.1 billion by 2015, the report
According to Heath, the main reason for its projected growth is that HSPA is the most
natural evolution from current-generation technologies.
As for the remainder of the market, LTE will surpass WiMAX despite its slow early
growth, according to the study
stalling a bit in U.S.-based enterprises due to challenges in network builds and slow
delivery of compatible handsets.
The study states that WiMAX will be squeezed out of developed markets by fixed and
cellular broadband services. By 2015, the technology will serve just 98 million customers
worldwide, mostly in developing regions.
On the other hand, LTE is expected to achieve a customer base of 440 million by 2015
and will generate $194 billion in global revenue as it becomes the preferred technology
used by a majority of carriers globally, according to Analysys.
In North America alone, there will be 43 million LTE customers by 2015, with
associated revenue of $31 billion, the study said.
Article courtesy of InternetNews.com