The mobile broadband market is set to explode over the next few years, spurred on by major growth in developing markets as device adoption rates rise, a new report has stated.
Emerging markets will account for more than 80% of connections by 2018, according to the latest Wireless Operator Strategies (WOS) service report from research firm Strategy Analytics.
The firm's Global Active Mobile Broadband PC/Modem Subscription Forecast: 2007-2018 report predicts that by the end of this year, there will be 260 million mobile broadband data plans linked to PC or modems worldwide, which will increase to 418 million by the end of 2018. The report predicts that service revenue from mobile broadband networks will grow from $52 billion in 2014 to $64 billion by 2018.
Data traffic will increase from 7.6 billion Terabytes in 2014 to 16 billion in 2018, spurred on by the rising availability of 4G LTE network across the globe, with these networks becoming a key driver of value across all regions, accounting for 74% of 2018 global service revenues and 71% of data traffic.
Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, strategy analytics' director of Wireless Operator Strategies, said: "4G LTE will be a catalyst for growth, fulfilling connectivity needs with larger, lower cost-per-GByte data plans.
"Portable Wi-Fi hotspot routers will be an important product for 4G, tapping into the rapidly expanding installed base of Wi-Fi enabled portable devices in many households."
Phil Kendall, the firm's executive director, Wireless Operator Strategies, and author of the report, said that alongside a bullish outlook for emerging markets, some developed markets will return to growth as niche fixed broadband alternative opportunities emerge and pricing flexibility increases.
"Smartphone and tablets have hit demand for modem connectivity in many developed markets over the last 18 months, either as users migrate basic mobile computing use to these devices, or as the smartphone becomes the modem via tethering," he added.