Mobile broadband services will generate more than US$400bn (AUD$443.65bn) revenues in 2012, market watchers predicted today.
"Mobile broadband will represent close to half of all mobile service revenues in 2012, making it one of the largest and most strategically important segments of the mobile industry," said Mike Roberts, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media
The report predicts that HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) will be the leading mobile broadband system in 2012 by number of subscribers, followed by EV-DO (1x Evolution-Data Optimised) and Mobile WiMax.
EV-DO will have the most subscribers at the end of 2007 but will be overtaken by HSDPA in 2009. TD-SCDMA will also become a "significant force" in the mobile broadband market with close to 50 million subscribers in China by 2012.
"Mobile WiMax will be the leading next-generation system based on OFDMA [Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access] and MIMO [Multiple-Input Multiple-Output] in 2012 given its two-year head start in the market," said Roberts.
"But LTE [Long Term Evolution] will overtake Mobile WiMax in the long run owing to the huge installed base of WCDMA/HSPA operators that plan to deploy LTE."
Roberts added that there were more than 200 commercial mobile broadband networks worldwide in June 2007 with more than 50 million subscribers using hundreds of different mobile, portable and fixed devices.
"Mobile broadband is already a significant market but will explode in the next five years as networks, devices and services mature and spark mass-market adoption," the analyst said.
But the scale of the opportunity means that vendors and operators with the wrong strategies will suffer.
"Mobile broadband is a turning point for the mobile industry as it was for the fixed-line industry when it transitioned from dial-up to broadband," said Roberts.
"As in the fixed market, the transition to broadband is an opportunity for new entrants and innovative incumbents to take market share from slower rivals. "
The report found that rapid adoption of mobile broadband will lead it to become the dominant broadband platform worldwide in 2011, when mobile broadband services based on HSPA, EV-DO, WiMax and other systems will have more subscribers than fixed broadband services based on Digital Subscriber Line, cable and Fibre To The Premises.
"Some mobile broadband vendors and operators are clearly betting that a significant number of fixed broadband subscribers will migrate to mobile broadband, and we think they are right, although the rate of migration will vary significantly by region and technology," Roberts predicted.