APAC set to top mobile broadband laptop league by 2012

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APAC will overtake Europe to become home to the most laptop or netbook mobile broadband subscribers during 2011, with these markets remaining some way ahead of North America, Central and South America, and the Middle East and Africa in the immediate future, according to forecasts from Coda Research Consultancy.

During the period to 2017, Asia Pacific will record the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21%, followed by Central and South America and MEA, both on 18%, and North America at 17%. By this time, 418 million people will be using mobile broadband-enabled portables, a three-fold increase over 2009 levels.

A ramp-up in LTE (Long Term Evolution) deployments from 2012 will drive growth, with half of mobile broadband laptop/netbook users connected using this technology in 2017. Although APAC will have the most LTE users, Europe will dominate in terms of the proportion of users with LTE accounts (75%), followed by North America (65%).

Mobile broadband traffic from portable computers will grow 40-fold by 2017, to 1.8 exabytes per month. LTE users will punch above their weight in terms of data volumes, accounting for 1.1 exabytes of the total.

A number of drivers have been identified, including competition between operators, declining subscription costs, increased speeds and availability, low cost dongles, and the increased use of mobile broadband as an alternative to fixed deployments. The last of these is especially true of developing markets, where fixed line deployments lag and mobile broadband provides the only viable option to provide internet connectivity.

Coda did not split how mobile broadband-enabled computer use would be split between businesses and consumers, although its forecasts predict that video traffic and peer-to-peer will be the most popular APAC applications, indicating a strong consumer market base. The fact that mobile broadband will be the only connectivity option for some users comes into play here, as in developed markets customers will have greater access to other broadband connections.

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Nicolas Jacquey
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