GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, said today that India will become the second largest 3G market globally within the next four years with 367 million Mobile Broadband connections by 2016. GSMA defines “broadband” as 3G connections.
By 2016, India will overtake the US, which is then expected to have 337 million 3G connections by 2016, but will still be second to China, which will have reached 639 million 3G connections in the same period. The number of 3G connections in the Americas region is estimated to have hit 100 million at the end of 2011, accounting for about 15 percent of the total and more than doubling from a year earlier. Brazil reached almost 250 million mobile connections by year-end 2011, according to Wireless intelligence data, accounting for over a third of total connections in the Americas region. It is now a larger market than Mexico, Argentina and Colombia combined.
Since 3G licenses were first awarded to mobile operators in India in September 2010, connectivity has grown steadily. There are now more than 10 million HSPA connections across the country, with more than 100 million connections expected by 2014. This will make India the largest HSPA market worldwide within the next two years, surpassing China, Japan and the US in the process.
According to Evalueserve, India’s 3G subscriber base will grow at 30% CAGR to reach 200 million by 2016. According to a recent study by the GSMA’s Wireless Intelligence service, despite a large rural population, mobile growth in India is being largely driven by more affluent communities in cities. Net additions in urban areas reached 85 million last year compared to 57 million in rural areas, with mobile penetration increasing by 20 percentage points in urban areas.
“India is taking great strides towards the uptake of data and already has the third largest Internet subscriber base in the world with more than 100 million users, and the second largest Facebook subscriber base in the world with 43 million users,” said Sanjay Kapoor, CEO – India & South Asia, Bharti Airtel. “Various studies have shown that a 10 per cent increase in mobile penetration could lead to 1 per cent increase in GDP, and a 10 per cent increase in Mobile Broadband penetration could deliver a 1.4 per cent increase in GDP.
In Q4 2011, the US had just over 5.6 million LTE subscribers, comprising 64% of the 8.8 million users globally. Japan follows with 1.1 million LTE subscribers, or 13% of the global total, and South Korea ranks third with 740,000 subscribers, accounting for 8% of the worldwide figure.
Global Broadband Subscribers (including cable and DSL subscribers), are set to Rise by Nearly 60 Percent by 2015, says iSuppli, with about 350 million new consumers projected to come online from 2011 to 2015.
Clearly wired broadband is being out paced by wireless broadband (both HSPA and LTE) which may cumulatively total close to 4 billion users worldwide by 2016.
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