Explosive growth for HSPA+ broadband predicted for Europe

12 Jan 2010

The total number of mobile broadband subscribers in key European markets will rise from about 22 million at the end of 2009 to more than 43 million in 2011, an exclusive new report predicts.

The report by CCS Insight predicts that HSPA-based broadband will be the driving force for 100pc growth in the Top 5 major markets of Europe.

The one common factor is growth, underpinned by 3G HSPA and HSPA+ mobile broadband technology.

According to CCS Insight’s report, the European mobile broadband market will see subscriber and revenue numbers nearly double by 2011.

Revenue increase

Total revenue from mobile broadband access in the major markets will rise from less than €6 billion in 2009 to more than €11 billion in 2011.

“It is clear from this report that with the right network investment, European mobile network operators will see significant growth in mobile broadband adoption in the next two years,” said Michael O’Hara, chief marketing officer at the GSMA.

“HSPA technology will drive this rapid uptake across Europe as mobile operators and their customers continue to benefit from its expanding, vibrant and competitive ecosystem. 

“HSPA technology has a vast number of enabled devices and established roaming capabilities delivering high-speed broadband connectivity to users on the move, right across Europe.

“As the GSM family of technologies continues to evolve and we see increased deployments of HSPA+ and LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks, mobile broadband users will experience even faster data rates, more than sufficient to compete with fixed-line broadband offerings,” O’Hara said.

In Italy, most access is charged by the minute, while operators elsewhere, particularly in the UK, have largely adopted flat-rate, all-you-can-eat models.

Charges by country

Among Europe’s major markets, the highest charging countries for mobile broadband are France, where 4GB of data can cost a subscriber almost €85 a month, and Germany, where subscribers can pay €45 for each gigabyte of data.

The least expensive mobile broadband in the Top 5 markets can be found in the UK, where competition is fierce, where subscribers can pay less than €17 a month for 3GB of data traffic, and less than €5 for each gigabyte of data.

France and Spain will see the fastest growth in mobile broadband users, and the advent of new subscribers – and a fourth operator in France – will be accompanied by a reduction in average charges.

The most common allowances across Europe are 1GB, 3GB and 5GB a month.

“Competition will have a huge impact on the growth of mobile broadband across Europe – both in terms of increasing subscriber numbers and the average revenue operators will see from each subscriber,” said Shaun Collins, managing director at CCS Insight.

“In this market, we expect to see not only growth, but also changes in the dynamic across Europe as the countries currently with the least mobile broadband penetration – France and Spain – experience the fastest growth in subscribers in the coming years,” Collins added.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The number of mobile broadband subscribers in key European markets is projected to reach more than 43 million in 2011

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years