Telecom Lead Europe: HSPA/LTE accounted for 21.8 percent of the total number of broadband connections in Europe at the end of 2011.
The number of HSPA/LTE mobile broadband subscribers (connected PCs and tablets) grew by 12.4 percent year-over-year in 2011 to reach 38.1 million and is forecasted to continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7 percent to 70 million by 2017.
The North American market grew by 47 percent to reach 21.4 million subscribers by the end of 2011, primarily driven by the rapid adoption of tablet data plans. Mobile broadband now accounts for 18.1 percent of the total number of broadband connections in the region.
Between 2011 and 2017, the North American market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 16.3 percent to reach 53 million subscribers at the end of the period.
The levels of adoption of mobile broadband vary significantly across Europe. Austria and Sweden are the most advanced markets with penetration rates of around 20 percent. Denmark, Norway, Ireland and Finland have penetration rates above 13 percent. Belgium, Greece and Slovenia have on the other hand penetration rates of less than 4 percent.
Also the pricing varies across different markets, with subscriptions costing around four times more in the most expensive countries compared to the least expensive ones.
The lowest prices can be found in the Baltic countries, Poland and Austria with average monthly prices ranging € 8–10 for a 3 GB bundle at a data rate of at least 7.2 Mbps.
The highest prices can be found in Switzerland (€ 39 per month). The unweighted average price in EU23+2 for a 3 GB bundle in November 2012 was € 19.10, compared to € 20.50 in 2011.
“We have previously seen an average year-on-year price decline of 20 percent in Europe, compared to a decline of only 7 percent this year,” said Lars Kurkinen, telecom analyst, Berg Insight.
Huawei has established itself as the world’s largest supplier of mobile broadband terminals holding a market share of 54 percent and has a particularly strong foothold in Europe.
ZTE is the second largest vendor with clear margins capturing a market share of 34 percent. Berg Insight estimates the total global number of shipped external mobile broadband terminals in 2011 to 102.5 million.
Terminal shipments to Europe and North America declined slightly in 2011 to reach 26.6 million units and 8.1 million units respectively.
Data on terminal shipments for the first three quarters of 2012 indicates that the global market will decline by as much as 24 percent this year. The USB form factor is projected to decline by nearly 30 percent in 2012 to 66 million units. In contrast, global shipments of mobile hotspots will grow by 15 percent in 2012 to reach 12.0 million units.