Understand and measure the impact of COVID-19 on the telecom industry!

Virus impact over each market - telecom operators, government agencies and regulators' responses - revised forecasts for the next 5 years.

See updated country reports

2015 Global Mobile Broadband - a Trailblazing Market - Insights and Statistics

Report Cover Image

Last updated: 8 May 2015 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 167

Lead Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Contributing Analysts: Lucia Bibolini, Paul Budde, Peter Evans, Henry Lancaster

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the global mobile broadband sector and is a valuable resource of insights, examples and trends. It provides important insights into trends such as LTE deployment, WiFi growth, VoLTE and Mobile VoIP and mobile broadband apps. Supported by key statistics, and cases studies - it also includes unique insights into regional developments, written by BuddeComm’s Senior Analysts.

Subjects covered include:

  • Key global mobile broadband industry trends;
  • Key global mobile broadband industry statistics;
  • Insights and statistics on the fast growing LTE sector;
  • Insights and statistics on VoLTE and Mobile VoIP
  • Insights and statistics into the growing importance of WiFi;
  • Insights and statistics into mobile broadband apps and entertainment services;
  • Regional overviews for North America, Europe, Latin America; Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Researchers:- Kylie Wansink, Paul Budde, Lucia Bibolini, Peter Evans, Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- May 2015 (19th Edition)

Executive Summary

OTT and WiFi buoy the mobile broadband boom

Mobile broadband access using the 3G and now the 4G/LTE networks has continued to expand as users continue to add tablets, modems and phones to use alternative communication methods and cloud based services. In the longer term, with the increase in connected devices and the increased availability of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, the amount of mobile data downloaded is likely to at least double yearly for the next few years.

Long-Term Evolution (LTE) – or 4G – represents an important growth opportunity for the mobile industry, and operators around the world are investing heavily in rolling out the technology. In fact, LTE network deployment may turn out to be one of fastest technology migrations ever seen. In LTE’s favour is the fact that it allows operators a smooth migration from both legacy 3GPP and non-3GPP systems.

With competitively priced services, innovative smartphones, and an increasing range of apps, mobile broadband traffic will continue to escalate. While the capacity of the mobile network is greatly improved by LTE – as well as by increasing spectrum allocation, the physics of mobile technology is such that it will be impossible to handle all the traffic of these mobile devices over the mobile network, and an increasing portion will have to be offloaded onto fixed networks. Thus, developments in LTE will stimulate the need for fibre broadband.

LTE systems were designed primarily for data communications and do not have the circuit switched capability of previous mobile generations – therefore, on their own, LTE networks do not allow for voice or SMS. In order to offer these services, VoLTE solution need to be added to the LTE network.

With the improved coverage and penetration of LTE as well as the massive adoption of smartphones, VoLTE has become a priority throughout the world for operators that wish to bring HD voice service to their LTE customers. Nevertheless, while VoLTE services certainly offer opportunities, Over-The-Top (OTT) mobile VoIP services will attract the largest revenue market shares, at least in the short and medium term.

In fact, mobile VoIP has been skyrocketing, with millions of users around the world subscribing to one or more of the many OTT companies offering mobile VoIP apps and services. While a few forward-looking mobile operators understand the importance of accepting and even encouraging OTT services, some incumbents are applying pressure on regulators to restrict mobile VoIP. Others operators, especially in the more developed markets, are competing directly with OTT players by launching their own VoLTE services.

The global smartphone market has slowed from its boom years to a more modest but still significant growth. With mature markets becoming increasingly dependent on replacement purchases rather than on first-time buyers, the industry is shifting its attention to emerging countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, where much of the population either does not own a mobile phone or has yet to move from feature phone to smartphone.

Although Samsung and Apple remain the leading smartphone suppliers globally, their market share is being eroded by lower-priced phones from China. Moving beyond their vast domestic market, several Chinese brands are expanding internationally, especially to India and southern Asia.

A major threat to the smartphone business arises from the limitations of the mobile broadband infrastructure. The mobile industry can develop all of these new applications and services, but if the infrastructure cannot handle the capacity, there will be little use for them. Developed markets are eating up new spectrum with a voracious appetite. WiFi could be a good customer access alternative.

A remarkable development in the WiFi market is the massive proliferation of community hotspots, also known as homespots. Globally, in just a few years, they have grown to an estimated 53 million – by comparison, commercial hotspots, which have been around for much longer, only number 8 million.

The popularity of the homespot model reflects the growing trend towards a ‘sharing economy’, where digital technology is used to empower individuals and enable them to share excess capacity in goods and services.

Fon, the pioneer of the dual SSID router for community WiFi networks, is the global leader, but other companies have followed Fon’s example and launched their own dual access WiFi systems, for example Free in France, Comcast in the US, and Liberty Global’s European subsidiaries.

In 2015, wearable technology has become a thriving industry, with an ever-broadening range of possible uses and devices, including smart watches, glasses, clothing items, skin patches, and even implants for health monitoring.

Thanks to improvements in sensor technology and apps, together with consumer adoption of smart technologies generally, smart watches are becoming increasingly popular. Since Google launched its Android Wear operating system for wearable devices in mid-2014, more and more manufacturers are starting to offer smart watches paired with smartphones – and as mobile operators begin to offer these smart watches as part of bundled packages, we see the market moving towards mainstream.

The global digital media entertainment market continues to go from strength to strength in 2015. This highly competitive industry sector is flourishing on the back of improved mobile and broadband infrastructure and consumers continue to embrace being entertained and connected via gaming, social media, video streaming and music. Advertising models are expanding in order to capture revenue from an industry where direct revenue-generating business models are not well received by the broader public.

The next step in mobile broadband is 5G – and the 5G technology is now well and truly under development. While there are no firm standards in place, the industry is working hard at making that happen. In the meantime, the early movers are testing their own versions of the 5G technology and this is giving us information about what we can expect – what the technology will be able to deliver.

Commercial 5G is not expected to become available in any significant way until around 2020, with full deployment expected towards the end of that decade.

BuddeComm’s new report, Global Mobile Broadband – a Trailblazing Market – Insights and Statistics, provides important insights into the worldwide mobile broadband industry and includes trends, analyses, statistics and case studies. It provides insights into the fast growing LTE network deployment and the subsequent emerging VoLTE sector, and it offers a glimpse into the future with the latest advances in 5G technology. It explores the popular OTT mobile VoIP industry and the growing importance of WiFi to the telecoms sector. Supported by insights and statistics on mobile broadband apps this report also provides valuable information at a regional level including North America, Europe, Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific, written by BuddeComm’s Senior Analysts. Please note: Mobile communications is covered in detail in a separate annual publication.

Key developments:

  • The Asia Pacific region (APAC) overtook North America in 2014 to become the region with the largest number of LTE subscriptions.
  • The smartphone is the largest and fastest-growing LTE device category, followed by routers and tablets.
  • VoLTE has been launched in South Korea, the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Romania, Denmark, Japan, Germany, and Canada
  • Smartphones account for over 70% of global mobile handset shipments in 2015;
  • Nokia’s new owner, Microsoft Mobile, has a transitional right to sell mobile handsets under the Nokia brand name, but its Lumia devices will carry the Microsoft name and logo instead of Nokia.
  • In 2015 the number of apps available from the Apple, Google and Amazon app stores has reached around 3 million;
  • Including homespots, the UK has more than one WiFi hotspot for every 11 people, while globally there is more than one hotspot for every 150 people.
  • Community WiFi programs have been launched in France, the UK, the US, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Brazil, Denmark, Poland, Spain, Japan, Israel, Russia, and Portugal, and other countries.
  • Telstra is rolling out its nationwide WiFi network in 2015, including Telstra built WiFi hotspots and residential homespots created by customers.
  • WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook in February 2014, added mobile VoIP to its messaging app in March 2015.
  • VoLTE has been launched in South Korea, the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Romania, Denmark, Japan, Germany, and Canada
  • AT&T is testing all-digital IP phone networks in the two US cities of West Delray Beach, Florida, and Carbon Hill, Alabama.
  • The revenue derived from global digital music sales today has finally equalled the amount derived from physical formats;
  • While Nintendo long resisted joining the mobile gaming market it has finally bowed to competitive pressure and announced in 2015 that it would begin publishing and offering mobile games.
  • Several companies have started selling smartwatches paired with Android smartphones following the launch of Google’s Android Wear, a version of its Android operating system designed for wearable devices.
  • With wearable devices still making their mark on the consumer market, the industry is looking at the potential of wearables in the enterprise sector – for example, being hands-free devices, smart glasses are ideal in the blue-collar business.

 

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year

Kylie Wansink

May 2015

Related Reports

Share this Report

Purchase with Confidence

Paul owns and manages the world's largest online Telecommunications Consultancy and is very active on the international telecommunication scene. A very hard worker who is extremely well informed and well connected with all tiers of the ICT industry. He is the force behind the NBN project implementation and a catalyst for the progress of the Digital Economy between the Industry and the powers that be, in the government

Sharif Ahmed, Senior Consultant, Digisoft Microsystems

Research Methodology

BuddeComm's strategic business reports contain a combination of both primary and secondary research statistics, analyses written by our senior analysts supported by a network of experts, industry contacts and researchers from around the world as well as our own scenario forecasts.

For more details, please see:


Research Methodology

Sample Reports

A selection of downloadable samples from our Annual Publications catalogue.


Download a Sample Report

More than 4,000 customers from 140 countries utilise BuddeComm Research

Are you interested in BuddeComm's Custom Research Service?

News & Views

Have the latest telecommunications industry news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to Paul's FREE weekly News & Views.