Wireless broadband services will be in focus for the mobile industry during 2006, according to a new report from the telecom analyst firm Berg Insight. 3G networks upgraded with HSDPA technology are going to enable peak data speeds of up to 3.6 Mbps at the end of the year for the same price as a DSL service with comparable performance.
According to the report there are currently more than 1 million 3G data card users worldwide. Virtually all 3G network operators in Europe offer mobile broadband services. Portugal, Switzerland and the Czech Republic have the lowest tariffs with several operators offering unlimited 3G data traffic for less than Ђ 30 per month. 3 Sweden offers a discount tariff including 1 GB data traffic for only Ђ 17 per month.
The growth of notebook PC shipments reflects strong demand for mobility on the computer market and generates rapid growth in the device population. According to the study, HSDPA is the best suited wireless broadband technology for most regular users. 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone among others are expected to launch HSDPA on several European markets starting from Q1-2006. T-Mobile began shipping HSDPA ready PC data cards already in late 2005.
“We estimate that the number of notebook PCs in Europe will be in the vicinity of 120 million devices in 2009. One of the key issues for the telecom industry is how those should be connected to the Internet”, says Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight. “There is much talk about various emerging technologies, but HSDPA is actually here right now and combines high performance with good coverage. No other technology can be expected to achieve the same footprint in the near future”.