New tablets, smartphones pushing mobile broadband subscriptions towards one billion mark

The number of data-hungry mobile users is set to rise exponentially this year as consumers get their hands on the latest tablets, smartphones and laptops.

By the end of 2011, the number of mobile subscriptions will reach the one billion mark - approximately double the current estimate of more than 500 million subscriptions.

The greatest number of new subscriptions will be concentrated in the Asia Pacific region where about 400 million new subscriptions are expected in the next year.

North America and Western Europe will follow with more than 200 million subscriptions each.

"Mobile broadband adoption has accelerated with strong growth of smartphones, connected laptops and tablets, supported by the introduction of high-performance networks," said Ericsson in a report released on January 11.

The upwards trend will continue into 2015 said Ericsson, fuelled by the arrival of new connected devices and the completion of of high-performance networks.

"Users' consumption of the internet and other media is changing as a result of the introduction of fast networks and the availability of various types of devices, including smartphones," said Ericsson.

An increasing number of people are watching mobile TV, streaming videos and making video calls on their mobile devices while they are out and about. People are also using more mobile applications than ever before.

The wider roll out of high-speed LTE, HSPA and CDMA networks will mean less lag, faster downloads and the development of new services for consumers.

"According to TeliaSonera's survey of its LTE users, about 23 percent of them now watch more online TV, and in excess of 46 percent surf the web more frequently when away from home," said Ericsson.

By 2015 the number of mobile broadband subscriptions will exceed 3.8 billion. 95 percent of those connections will be driven by high-speed HSPA, CDMA and LTE networks.

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