Wireless broadband numbers set to hit 1m by 2010

Wireless broadband numbers set to hit 1m by 2010


A seven-fold increase in wireless and mobile broadband will see subscriber numbers reach one million by 2010, IDC has predicted.

The analyst firm claimed the arrival of 3G, faster HSDPA data cards, and the ratification of WiMax, would help increase subscriber numbers.

In 2005, the wireless broadband market, characterised by companies such as Unwired and PBA, had more 81,000 subscribers. By comparison, the mobile broadband market, fuelled by 3G offerings by the big four mobile telco players, numbered some 62,000 subscribers.

IDC wireless and mobility analyst, Jerson Yau, said the combination of Australia's geographically diverse population, and increasing demand for mobile connectivity in the business sector, were key drivers.

But while rival research firm, Ovum, has claimed mobile broadband would topple wireless broadband in the coming years, Yau said the race for subscribers and dominance would be a much closer affair.

Last month, Ovum analyst, Nathan Burley, said HSDPA would pose a major threat to incumbent wireless carriers such as PBA and Unwired.

"With four mobile operators in Australia [Optus and Hutchison will soon offer HSDPA services], they will more than likely win the battle," he said.

Yau disagreed and said both technologies had their strong points, For example, mobile broadband allowed users to roam not only locally but overseas using the same high-speed data provider. Wireless broadband on the other hand, was IP-based and offers faster speeds both up and down.

The greatest current challenge for wireless broadband was pricing.

"If you look at its wired counterparts, they pack a lot of punch for their dollar," Yau said.

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