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Wireless Intelligence says mobile broadband now accounts for a quarter of global connections (if you count 3G connections) with a total of 1.6 billion 3G and 4G subscriptions.

3G networks (HSPA) are the overwhelming majority of that 1.6 billion. WiMAX and LTE account for just 5 percent. Asia has 773 million 3G/4G connections, the Americas (both continents) have 426 million, and Europe 358 million 3G/4G connections.

The International Telecommunications Union in October 2012, announced there are now 6 billion cellphone subscriptions, world-wide. Fully a third of those, for a total of two billion, are from China and India.

The stats don’t necessarily mean that 6 billion people have mobile devices. Many people have multiple devices with a mobile broadband connection – a smartphone and tablet, for example. The current global population stands at about 6.97 billion, according to the World Bank.

Global smartphones sales will cross the billion-unit mark in 2014, helped by strong demand from China and the launch of cheaper low-end handsets, according to a Credit Suisse estimate.

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.

But projections of broadband penetration seem to be all over the map – even from the same source.

Global Broadband Subscribers 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.

4G Americas predicts there will be 604 million LTE subscribers globally by 2016, with some 3.5 billion using HSPA. That totals more than 4 billion broadband users by 2016.

Related Dailywireless articles include; 6 Billion!, 5 Billion!, USA: 332 Million Mobiles, 4G: One Third of All Smartphones, LTE Situation Report, Mobile Backhaul Grows, Broadband Subs 5B by 2015, Data Subs: 5 Billion by 2016, 5 Billion Mobile Subscribers, Bluetooth: 5 Billion Served , Top Wireless Trends of 2011 and Broadband Penetration Stats

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