Informa Telecoms and Media has just issued a report stating that the number of 3.5G mobile broadband subscribers worldwide will boom more than ten-fold from 2.5 million in 2006 to more than 300 million in 2011.
However, market growth in the coming year will likely be restrained by a lack of devices and content, according to the report Future Mobile Broadband: HSPA, EV-DO, WiMAX & LTE.
"A lack of compelling devices and content led to delayed launches and slow take-up of WCDMA and EV-DO services, and early HSDPA and EV-DO Revision A services are expected to suffer from the very same problems," says Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media and co-author of the Future Mobile Broadband Strategic Report.
Saadi notes that most HSDPA services are launching with only PC cards and notebooks, although a number of early handsets are also arriving. "However it is striking that as of June no major vendor has unveiled plans for EV-DO Rev. A handsets, although data cards are on the way."
The report posits that 3.5G handsets will start to mature in 2008, leading to a sharp increase in sales and subscribers in 2008-09. By 2011 85% of 3.5G devices sold will be handsets, and the remaining 15% will be notebooks and PC cards.