ABI Research forecasts that 3G modules will achieve only a 30% penetration of the M2M market by 2012, and will become the technology of choice only where bandwidth demands and economics dictate.
According to In-Stat, a total of 210 cellular carriers worldwide have either deployed 3G or will do so very shortly. Of these 210 cellular carriers, 68 are in Western Europe, 38 Eastern Europe, 19 in North America, 18 South America, 13 are in the Middle East and 54 are in the Asia Pacific.
Long Term Evolution (LTE) of 3G technologies is about to benefit from Rel-8 of the 3GPP standard, planned for Q3 2007. This will be the trigger for development of components and systems to provide 100 Mbps download speeds to mobile devices. According to a new study from ABI Research, network operators will invest a total of almost $18 bln in LTE capital infrastructure over the period to 2014.
As of the end of Q4 2006, there were over 100 mln WCDMA subscribers around the world, ABI Research says. The WCDMA subscriber sector is moving particularly fast, growing 102% YTY and 16.6% QTQ. 3G subscribers are providing a much-needed shot in the arm for mobile operators, because they deliver an average revenue per user (ARPU) that is 5% to 20%% greater than the average. For many operators, the period Q2 2004 to Q2 2006 proved challenging, as competition pushed down on ARPU but the additional revenue streams from non-voice applications failed to compensate.
With over 93 commercial networks in operation, HSPA is likely to account for the majority of investment in global mobile broadband networks over the next five years, according to Arthur D. Little. By comparison mobile WiMax will be a niche technology within the overall global mobile broadband wireless access market, likely to account for at most 15% of this network equipment market and perhaps 10% of mobile broadband wireless subscribers by 2011-2012.
ABI Research forecasts that in terms of power consumption OPEX, by 2011 the cost of delivering wireless services to WCDMA customers will be near $14 per annum, while Metro Wi-Fi will be as low as just over $1.
Within six years since its introduction, 3G CDMA has gained approximately 402 mln subscribers worldwide and more than 30 mln 3G subscribers are added every quarter. In leading markets such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States, the number of 3G subscribers already has surpassed that of 2G subscribers.
Nearly 40% of US respondents couldn’t correctly identify whether or not their mobile carrier offered 3G service, In-Stat says.
In the US, 16% of mobile phone users have handsets with 3G technology, but only 10% of those users make use of the 3G functionality. Globally, 20% of consumers have 3G capabilities, with only 9% of users taking advantage of the enhanced service. TNS Global Technology Insights reports that US consumers, when compared to consumers around the world, are more likely to look for mobile phones with features such as a still camera (42% versus 35%), mobile Internet (19% versus 12%), email (22% versus 12%), and mobile gaming (13% versus 7%) when making their next phone purchase. Generally, 40 to 50% of US consumers who use mobile TV, electronic banking, on-line gaming, location services and subscription services use them daily. This compares to 20 to 25% daily usage for the rest of the world.
Mobile network infrastructure revenue will peak at $14.6 bln in 2008 in Western Europe. 3G mobile network equipment will generate $13.7 bln in the same year, Gartner says.