Infonetics: Mobile Broadband Revenues to double; HSPA drives card sales

Disclaimer:  This author has no business relation with Infonetics.  We do admire the way they do primary market research.  Infonetics Chief Analyst Michael Howard recently spoke at an IEEE ComSocSCV event and has just become an IEEE member.

Mobile broadband service revenue to more than double by 2014

Infonetics Research ( today released excerpts from its Mobile Services and Subscribers: Voice, SMS/MMS, and Broadband market size and forecast report, published in June.


"Total mobile monthly ARPUs are still trending down across the board, despite fast rising mobile broadband revenue that partly offsets the decline of voice and SMS, which have been affected by new tariff regulation in the middle of a global recession, prompting many subscribers to shift to prepaid accounts. Moving forward, a two-race game is developing: how to keep up with the onslaught of low ARPU prepaid customers, and how fast can messaging and mobile app downloads replace phone calls as the major revenue drivers?" notes Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research's principal analyst for mobile and FMC infrastructure.


  • Revenue collected by service providers for cellular services totaled $675 billion in 2009, and is expected to top $829 billion by 2014
    • Mobile broadband service revenue jumped 36% in 2009
    • Between 2010 and 2014, mobile broadband revenue will more than double
  • The number of mobile broadband subscribers is expected to reach 1.8 billion worldwide by 2014, or 28% of total mobile subscribers
  • The number of LTE subscribers is forecast to reach 153 million by 2014, mostly in Asia Pacific and EMEA
  • Due in large part to the high concentration of mobile operators in developed markets in Western Europe with good HSPA coverage, the EMEA region leads the mobile broadband race, having outpaced early 3G adopters such as Australia, Japan, and South Korea
  • In emerging Asian economies such as China and India, data revenue, including SMS and mobile broadband, is already having a positive impact on total ARPU, more than offsetting the rapid decline of voice ARPU that's occurring despite double-digit percentage annual increases in voice traffic
  • By 2014, W-CDMA/HSPA revenue will almost be 7 times that of CDMA2000 1xEV-DO revenue, as the majority of worldwide mobile subscribers are on GSM networks


Infonetics' biannual Mobile Services and Subscribers report provides in-depth analysis and worldwide and regional market size and forecasts through 2014 for mobile services (voice, SMS/MMS, and mobile broadband [W-CDMA/HSPA, CDMA2000/EV-DO, TD-SCDMA, LTE]) and subscribers (voice [prepaid and postpaid] and mobile broadband [W-CDMA/HSPA, CDMA2000/EV-DO, TD-SCDMA, LTE, Phone-based and PC-based]).

The report features a Mobile Broadband Service Deployment tracker following more than 28 service providers with live services or with planned services, as well as the number of mobile broadband and WiMAX subscribers, tracked by region, country, technology and subscribers.
AW Comment:  We would expect the majority of mobile broadband growth to be driven by HSPA/HSPA+ in the near term, with LTE kicking in around 2013-2014.  We see mobile WiMAX as a niche market for developing countries with little or no wireline broadband infrastructure.

Mobile broadband card sales up to $1.55 billion in 1Q10, driven by HSPA adoption

Infonetics Research ( released excerpts from its first quarter (1Q10) 2G/3G and LTE Mobile Broadband Devices and Subscribers report, published in June, which tracks W-CDMA/HSPA, CDMA2000/EV-DO, TD-SCDMA, and LTE mobile broadband cards, devices, routers, and netbooks.


"Embedded mobile devices now account for a third of the mobile broadband devices market; the trend for mobile broadband connectivity embedded within consumer devices will continue apace, moving beyond PC-based devices to multiple new form factors," notes Richard Webb, Infonetics Research's directing analyst for mobile devices.


  • Revenue from mobile broadband cards (standard PC cards and embedded cards) grew 6% in 1Q09 over 4Q09 to $1.55 billion worldwide
  • Strong growth is expected in mobile broadband card revenue and unit shipments in 2010, driven in large part by increasing adoption of HSPA (High Speed Packet Access)
  • LTE-based mobile broadband embedded PC card sales are forecast to top US$3.8 billion in 2014
  • Shipments of mobile routers jumped 59% in 1Q10 over 4Q09 as mobile operators see them as a means of offloading mobile data traffic onto WiFi and are actively promoting them
    • While this market is somewhat uncertain, it may continue to grow now that that these mobile (or 'hotspot') routers are smaller and more easily portable for vacations, work-related travel, in-vehicles, etc., appealing to a broader audience
  • Huawei, Sony Ericsson and ZTE are the top 3 mobile broadband card revenue market share leaders in 1Q10
  • The number of mobile broadband subscribers surpassed DSL subscribers for the first time in 2009, and is forecast by Infonetics Research to grow to 1.8 billion worldwide in 2014


Infonetics' 2G/3G and LTE Mobile Broadband Devices and Subscribers report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, analysis, and forecasts through 2014 for W-CDMA/HSPA, CDMA2000/EV-DO, TD-SCDMA, and Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband PC cards, embedded mobile broadband cards by device (PC, netbook, handheld mobile Internet device), and phone- and PC-based mobile broadband subscribers. The report also tracks mobile broadband routers and netbooks by operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux, other).

Companies tracked include Acer, Asus, D-Link, Dell, HP, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, NETGEAR, Novatel, Option, Samsung, Sierra Wireless, SonicWALL, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, ZTE, and others.

AW Comment:  We are not at all surprised by these findings.  Worldwide, HSPA is and will continue to be the most pervasive mobile broadband technology, way ahead of EVDO Rev xyz or Mobile WiMAX.  The reason is its the natural evolution from 2G GSM based cellular networks.

0 thoughts on “Infonetics: Mobile Broadband Revenues to double; HSPA drives card sales

  1. IDC Bullish on Mobile Broadband Market

    FRAMINGHAM, MA. – June 15, 2010 – The market for mobile broadband connectivity for portable computers has been slow to gain momentum over the past several years. Only in the past 18 months has the U.S. market taken significant steps toward broader adoption beyond the traditional mobile worker. According to a new International Data Corporation     (IDC) forecast, the U.S. mobile broadband market will grow from 6.5 million subscribers in 2009 to 30.2 million in 2014, which accounts for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.1% over the forecast period.    

    The introduction of subsidized netbooks and tablets, changes to pricing structures, and the early availability of 4G with WiMAX (and upcoming LTE deployments) have begun to spur interest among the consumer segment about the power of mobile broadband as a secondary access method beyond wired broadband. Although the possibility of mobile broadband becoming a primary access technology remains a figment of our imagination, it is not beyond the realm of possibility in for the longer term.

    "Mobile broadband is growing in importance for both consumers adopting the service and the operators offering connectivity," says Carrie MacGillivray, program manager, Mobility Services. "Diversity in pricing plans, new computing devices capable of mobile broadband connections, and the promise of a 4G world with faster speeds are a tempting proposition for customers looking to be ubiquitously connected regardless of location, anytime."

    The evolving landscape of wirelessly connected devices such as Apple’s iPad will also have a positive impact on this market. As devices such as tablets — which are rich in digital media experiences — become more broadly available and consumed, the appetite for instantaneous connectivity will drive growth around mobile broadband.

    It is an exciting time for mobile broadband. 2010 will see growing interest and adoption of services, but being at the threshold of a world with 4G — both WiMAX and LTE fully deployed — will play a positive role in spurring growth within the consumer and the business segment.

    IDC’s recent study, U.S. Mobile Broadband 2010-2014 Forecast: Consumers Join Business Users to Spur Growth (IDC #223386), examines the market for mobile broadband services that connect laptop computers to the cellular network. It discusses recent developments in the U.S. market, highlights offerings by U.S. mobile operators, and presents a revenue and subscriber forecast for 2010–2014.

  2. The second bullet, which suggests that the number of mobile broadband subscribers will equal 1.8B or 28% of all mobile subscribers, implies that there will be north of 6.4B total mobile subscribers.  That is getting close to 1 phone per person.  Wow! 

  3. Ken,  Phones are not the only devices that access mobile broadband.  Today, there are eReaders and tablet PCs,.  Tommorrow their will be many more devices, e.g. for video surveillance,  public safety, first responders, etc

  4. Latest from Pyramid Research (owned by Light Reading):

    Through 2015, the U.S. will add more mobile subscriptions (about 80 million) than any other developed nation with mobile revenue surpassing all fixed-line services by end of 2015, according to a new report from Pyramid Research (

    United States: Mobile Revenue to Overtake All Fixed-Line Services by 2015 offers a precise profile of the country’s telecommunications, media, and technology sectors based on proprietary data from our research in the market. It provides detailed competitive analysis of both the fixed and mobile sectors, tracks the market shares of technologies and services, and monitors the introduction and spread of new technologies. Download an excerpt of this report here. Purchase the report here.

    With an estimated $362 billion in service revenue in 2010, the U.S. will continue to be more than twice as large as the next most sizable markets – Japan and China – throughout the forecast period. Over the next five years, Pyramid expects total communications service revenue to grow at a CAGR of 2.53 percent to reach $410.2 billion in 2015.

    By 2015, mobile broadband computing will comprise about 40 percent of total mobile subscription net adds. “We believe embedded 3G, WiMax, and LTE devices, including M2M communications, e-readers, and telematics, will continue to drive adoption after the market exceeds 100 percent penetration, says Ozgur Aytar, Research Director at Pyramid Research. “All of the major broadband service providers already, or are beginning to, provide service bundles that integrate mobile broadband services, a key area of differentiation. By 2015, we expect mobile services to overtake fixed in terms of revenue.”

    The U.S. fixed-line segment is in a stage of transformation in which broadband services, and no longer fixed voice, are rapidly becoming core services for network operators. Pyramid expects broadband to surpass fixed voice penetration of households by 2011 as broadband becomes the primary means of communication, notes Aytar, enabling a slew of extremely popular value-added services, including social networking (e.g., Facebook), online video (e.g., YouTube, Hulu) and blogging (e.g., Twitter).

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